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World Mental Health Day 2011

On 10 October the Society joined five other professional organisations to call for mental health funding to be maintained despite the economic down turn. The following letter was sent to a number of national newspapers

Dear Sir

At a time of global economic uncertainty the government has put forward a package to reduce this country’s national debt. This means cuts for many public services, including mental health services.
Our members working in mental health services take the opportunity of World Mental Health Day to urge the Government to support continued investment in these vital services to achieve “parity of esteem” between mental and physical health care and overcome some of the most dramatic health inequalities in our country today.

The Government’s recent mental health strategy, No Health without Mental Health, sets out how important mental wellbeing is to every one of us and how much needs to be done to ensure people affected by mental ill health enjoy the same chances in life as everyone else. 

People with mental health needs tell us that they require services that integrate rather than divide their mental health and social needs.  The current reductions in social care and support to the voluntary sector are having a significant impact on the everyday lives of those who are already marginalised and living in poverty.

Every year, one in six of us will experience mental ill health; yet only a quarter will seek and receive treatment. The social cost of mental ill health is over £100 billion: more than the entire NHS budget and half of all mental health problems begin by the age of 14.

We recommend:

  • Investment in mental health care for people of all ages should be a priority.
  • Mental health services should fully embrace the recovery approach. There should be investment in prevention and health promotion work, with particular attention to child and adolescent mental health.
  • Mental health services, together with JobcentrePlus and others, should help clients to return rapidly to meaningful work wherever possible, and to keep them in work.
  • Discrimination against people with mental health problems should be as unacceptable as racism or sexism.
  • Service users and carers should be involved at the outset in planning, delivering and evaluating mental health services.

Yours faithfully

Carole Allan, President, The British Psychological Society
Sue Bailey, President, Royal College of Psychiatrists
Sean Duggan, Centre for Mental Health
Ian Hulatt, Royal College of Nursing
Genevieve Smyth, College of Occupational Therapists
Faye Wilson, British Association of Social Workers

We also issued a press release and encouraged members to write to their own local papers. Here are some of the letters that appeared as a result:

Bath Chronicle - Vanessa Durey-Lee
The Argus (Brighton) - Robert Jones

Kathleen Tait had a letter published in the Sunday Morning Post (Hong Kong), which does not seem to be online. And there was also a supportive letter from a psychiatrist, Dr David Smith in the Derby Telegraph.