Eastleigh MP Mike Thornton has welcomed a new Mental Health Action plan, launched by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and Lib Dem Care Minister Norman Lamb, this week.
The action plan, named ‘Closing the Gap’: Priorities for Essential Change in Mental Health’, sets out the Government’s 25 key priorities for improving mental health care and support, and clear steps for delivering on those priorities.
The plan includes establishing clear waiting time limits for mental health services, an issue that Eastleigh MP Mike Thornton has been campaigning to achieve since his election, even introducing his own Parliamentary Bill: the Access to Mental Health Services Bill (2013-14) to put pressure on the Government.
Commenting, Eastleigh MP Mike Thornton said:
"When the previous Government introduced access and waiting time standards for physical health, they failed to do so for mental health. For years this has distorted priorities within our health system, meaning many people urgently needing treatment for mental health problems have had to wait for far too long. It was for that reason that I introduced my Access to Mental Health Services Bill and I am delighted that Liberal Democrats in Government are taking action to put right this profound injustice, and the aspirations of my Bill are finally being realised.
"The announcement today that schools will be supported to identify mental health problems sooner, with teachers and mental health professionals working together to give pupils the best chance to succeed, is also incredibly important in ensuring child has fair start in life."
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:
"All too often, attitudes to mental health are stuck in the dark ages; full of stigma and stereotypes. It’s time for us to bring mental health out of the shadows and to give people with mental health conditions the support they need and deserve.
"Today we’re calling for action – across the NHS, the mental health sector and wider society – to champion change, to transform outdated attitudes and practices and to improve the lives of people with mental health problems.
"We recognise that we’ve got a mountain to climb. But we’re working hard to ensure that the needs of those with mental health problems are considered not just in the NHS, but also across our public sector: with better support in education, employment, the justice sector, housing and elsewhere."