I’ve written and spoken in Camden Council before about mental health – a subject close to my heart and one that I think is far too overlooked and under-resourced.
I’m delighted to hear David Cameron announce today that mental health services will receive a £1bn increase in funding to ‘revolutionise’ the care they deliver.
Treating mental illness has often been the Cinderella service of the NHS: the downtrodden sister of physical illness. But sisters they are – and parity of treatment, esteem, and funding they deserve.
The government announced its intention to give mental health services parity of esteem, and introduced targets for mental health care. This announcement of additional funding takes us some way towards reducing the shockingly long waiting times that have marred mental health services for decades.
But let’s be clear – this is just a first step. Far more funding is required. Far more attention is needed. And far more conversations are needed so people open up about mental health difficulties.
Whether it’s clinical depression, anxiety, post-partum depression, eating disorders, addiction, dementia, or other conditions, mental illness wrecks – and often ends – lives.
There is no shame whatsoever in admitting that you suffer from mental illness. I take a huge amount of pride that our government is doing something to fix it.