Nick Clegg plans to put treatment for mental health conditions on a level with physical health from 2015. In order to be clear, is that putting it on a par with the GP funding that has been cut by nearly £1bn, leading many surgeries to face financial collapse? Or is it putting it on a par with the A&E departments in crisis due to the number of hospital beds axed and where 5,000 A&E patients waited over four hours? Or perhaps on a par with cancer care, which saw a decrease in funding between 2009 and 2013 despite rising rates of diagnosis?
Mr Clegg might find it easier to seize the agenda on mental health had the austerity policies of his coalition government not ripped through the heart of mental health services. More than eight in 10 GPs now believe that their local mental health teams cannot cope with mental health caseloads, and nearly half said that the situation in their area had got even worse in the past 12 months. Research has shown the links between austerity economics – with its added financial strain, income inequality, debt, absence of essential services, and its regressive taxes like the bedroom tax – and the damaging impacts of such policies on people’s mental health.
Dr Carl Walker, Chair of the taskforce on austerity and mental health, European Community Psychology Association (via uristmcdorf)