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

Mental health organisations welcome Government’s decision to retain mental health amendment in Health and Social Care Bill

Embargoed until 21 March 2012

A coalition of mental health organisations has welcomed the House of Commons’ decision yesterday to give mental health a higher priority in the new health system in England.

Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, the Mental Health Foundation, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Centre for Mental Health together welcomed the Government’s decision to support an amendment to give the Secretary of State for Health an explicit duty to support both physical and mental health.


The amendment puts the Government’s own commitment to parity of esteem between mental and physical health care on a statutory footing, making it clear that the Secretary of State has a duty to improve the nation’s mental health services and the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of both physical and mental health.


In a joint statement they said: "We hope that this duty on the Secretary of State can help to ensure 'parity of esteem' between mental and physical health can be achieved at every level, from national policy to local planning in the NHS, social care services and public health.

"We also hope that the amendment will, more broadly and over time, influence positive changes in attitudes to mental health, and in knowledge, priorities, professional training and practice, all of which are necessary to reduce the stigma experienced by those with mental health problems and to improve the assessment and care they receive.


"Mental ill health affects one person in six each year and costs society some £105 billion a year in England. Mental health care receives about 11 per cent of the NHS budget1, despite representing 23 per cent of the burden of ill health2


"By integrating physical and mental health care and ensuring both have equal prominence in planning and delivering health and social care services, we can not only improve the support people receive for their overall health but also save taxpayers’ money."

For further information, please contact:
Sarah Nevins
Press & Social Media Officer
Telephone: 020 3701 2543
Claire McLoughlin
Media & Communications Manager 
Telephone: 020 3701 2544
Out of hours contact number: 07860 755896



1. Department of Health (2009) Departmental Report 2009: The Health and Personal Social Services Programmes. 2. HM Government (2011). No health without mental health: A cross-government mental health outcomes strategy for people of all ages.


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