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Together welcomes House of Lords vote to treat mental health and physical health equally

Posted on 10, February 2012

Together welcomes the House of Lords vote to amend the Health and Social Care bill to give mental and physical health equal prominence within the NHS and hopes it is adopted by the Government when the final details of the Bill are agreed.

This groundbreaking move, which echoes the philosophy underpinning the Coalition’s 2011 mental health strategy (No health without mental health), could reverse decades of inequality for people with mental health problems who have had their lives blighted by not being able to access the right kind of services quickly enough.

The equal prominence also helps to challenge the corrosive narrative that people with mental health problems are ‘burdensome’ and ‘untreatable’. We know that, just as for people with physical health issues, with the right kind of support they can lead ordinary, fulfilling lives – a positive outcome for them as individuals and society as a whole.

Together is concerned, however, that the ongoing uncertainty around the Bill is further impacting on the ability of the NHS and local authorities to deliver on the recommendations of the mental health strategy.

Instead of positive change on the ground, our colleagues and the people who access our services are worried about threats to existing services as funding cuts bite. There is anxiety over proposed benefit changes as well as fears about the prospects for employment or decent housing.

Only by tackling the issue across the whole of the health and social care spectrum can real outcomes for people with mental health issues be achieved, Together believes.

Liz Felton, Chief Executive says:

“Considering the lamentable lack of priority and funding given to mental health historically, the fact that the bill aims to put it on a footing with that devoted to physical health is a major step forward and a potential watershed in how mental health is managed in the future.

“However, it is only when health and social care agencies work together that meaningful and long-lasting results can be achieved for people with ongoing mental health issues. There is no point in someone receiving excellent help in hospital, for example, if they have no support in place to find somewhere to live or to access financial support when they are discharged. It makes the prospect of someone ending up in crisis and requiring support from acute services again, almost inevitable.”

For further information please contact Robyn Clark, PR & Marketing Officer at Together, Tel: 0207 780 7376/07734 870065 or Email: robyn-clark@together-uk.org