Miliband calls for an end to demeaning mental illness
- 29 Oct
The Labour Leader will announce that MPs have permitted silence towards the issue of mental health to infect our culture and politics, and calls for an end to stereotypes of mental illness affecting society.
Speaking at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, he will say fighting those who discriminate against mental illness is similar to the battle against sexism, racism and homophobia.
The speech will build on Mr Miliband's new theme of "one nation" politics aimed at uniting people across social divides.
He will push for a "one nation" approach to mental health by calling on schools, workplaces and communities to "confront this national challenge".
Mr Miliband will praise mental health workers but criticise those who "who abuse the privilege of their celebrity to insult, demean and belittle others".
He is likely to condemn an article by Janet Street-Porter, the journalist and television presenter, which said that depression is the latest must-have accessory promoted by the misery movement.
He will also cite Jeremy Clarkson, who Miliband will say:
[He] at least acknowledges the tragedy of people who end their own life but then goes on to dismisses them as 'Johnny Suicides' whose bodies should be left on train tracks rather than delay journeys.
One in four of us will have a mental illness at some point in our lifetime. It is the biggest unaddressed health challenge of our age. There are so many people in Britain today who could be treated but who are intimidated from seeking help. And so many people who need support but who believe that no-one will care.
Mr Miliband will argue that ignoring mental illness is costly to society because failing to tackle minor problems can allow major ones to build up.
The extra physical healthcare necessitated by mental illness costs the NHS a further £10 billion a year.
And it is not just our public services that bear the burden - British business does too. In time off work and in unproductive days at work. Mental ill health costs Britain's businesses almost £8.5 billion in sickness absence each year.
A bill introduced by Gavin Barwell, a Tory MP, currently has cross-party support for ending the ban on people with a history of mental health issues becoming MPs.
The bill, which is now likely to become law, also calls for the rules to be relaxed around people with mental health issues becoming company directors or performing jury service.
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