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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Promoting parity at home and abroad


For World Mental Health Day last week I issued a statement calling on governments to take the issue of parity seriously. This was countersigned by my counterparts in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. To back this up, the Head of Policy, Lucy Thorpe, joined me in meeting Care Services Minister, Norman Lamb, and his senior civil servants. To get to his inner sanctum we had to walk past some mildly disconcerting framed photos of celebrities, with chest x-rays superimposed on their torsos; I couldn’t help thinking about risk of cancer several service users run because of their addiction to tobacco.

The minister was very genuine in his intent to tackle parity and I felt the meeting was positive as we presented our draft report on the issue to the ministerial advisory group for mental health.

Later I accompanied mental health charities and Clare Gerada, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners to meet Ed Milliband, who has an interest in parity.

So, we have a good reception from politicians of all parties and now we must complete our report before Christmas; that’s when the real work begins. I need every members help to turn parity of esteem for mental and physical health from rhetoric to reality This is a project that has short-term wins but we need to stick to it for the long haul as it will improve the lives of users and carers, reduce inequalities and save money.

It was good to see so many people at the general and adult faculty conference with really excellent programme.

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