The Leader of the Opposition Calls for an Attitude Change to Mental Health and Supports Psychological and Psychotherapy Change in the NHS
In a speech to the Royal College of Psychiatrists on Monday, Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party, likened attacks on people suffering mental health problems to the fight against sexism, racism and homophobia.
He expressed his desire that people suffering from mental health issues would be able to access psychotherapy and counselling therapies and drug treatments in the NHS to the same levels as the physically ill can. At the moment he claims that the cost to the NHS is around £10bn and £20bn to businesses and although the change to the NHS constitution that he proposes would be expensive, ultimately the cost would be less due to early intervention.
He also criticised the attitude in society to these issues, calling them, ‘lazy caricatures’ and attacking celebrities such as Janet Street-Porter and Jeremy Clarkson for making light of the sufferers struggles.
He said, “There are still people who abuse the privilege of their celebrity to insult, demean and belittle others, such as when Janet Street-Porter says that depression is ‘the latest must-have accessory’ promoted by the ‘misery movement’.
“Jeremy Clarkson at least acknowledges the tragedy of people who end their own life but then goes on to dismisses them as ‘Johnny Suicides’ whose bodies should be left on train tracks rather than delay journeys.
“Just as we joined the fight against racism, against sexism and against homophobia, so we should join the fight against this form of intolerance. It is not acceptable, it costs Britain dear, and it has to change.”
He goes on to say, “One in four of us will have a mental illness at some point in our lifetime. It is the biggest unaddressed health challenge of our age. There are so many people in Britain today who could be treated but who are intimidated from seeking help. And so many people who need support but who believe that no one will care.
“For far too long our leading politicians have been far too silent about mental health, part of a taboo running across our society which infects both our culture and our politics.
“It is a taboo which not only blights the lives of millions but also puts severe strain on the funding of our NHS and threatens Britain’s ability to pay our way in the world. It is a taboo which must be broken if we are to rebuild Britain as one nation.
“In fact, everybody has a part to play. Only a nation acting together can overcome the challenge we face”.
The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practise, which comprises three female, professional psychotherapists can be found at 121, Harley Street, London.