In September Eastleigh MP Mike Thornton introduced a new Bill to Parliament which calls for better access to mental health services after it emerged patients were not guaranteed treatment when they need it. You can watch Mike's Bill below.
One in three families include someone who is mentally ill, but many people are still not getting the support and treatment they need quickly enough, with patients falling through the cracks.
The Bill aims to establish maximum waiting times and access standards to psychological therapies (or talking therapies) for those with mental health problems. Psychological therapies are proven and cost-effective treatments for a range of mental health problems, with as many as half of all who go through therapy making a full recovery.
Currently, the NHS Constitution's waiting times pledge excludes anyone who is waiting for psychological therapy, meaning that there is no statutory maximum waiting time for mental health treatment of this kind.
To make things worse, due to the way psychological therapies are categorised, patients have no right to access them, unlike drugs and other treatments.
Commenting on the Bill, Mike Thornton MP said,
"Mental health is a vitally important issue, affecting thousands of people in Eastleigh, and millions up and down the country. The Government have made great strides in ensuring that mental and physical heath is given the same importance, which of course is extremely welcome, but there is still lots more to do.
"This Bill highlights the unfairness that still exists within the NHS towards those with mental health problems. Psychological therapies provide a lifeline to those suffering, we must continue to pressure the Government to make these treatments are widely available to all who need them so people don't fall through the gap."