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
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
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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.