Boost needed for mental health research – Nick Clegg
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has spoken to the BBC saying that a major push is needed to boost mental health research.
When speaking to the BBC the Deputy Prime Minister said that his next party’s election manifesto would include a pledge to raise annual research spending in England by £50m by 2020.
Mr Clegg said: “My ambition is that we should understand mental health just as well as we understand physical health. I want us to be able to talk about, analyse and treat depression just as we treat diabetes. For far too long mental health has been a bit of a taboo subject – yet it affects one in four people in this country.”
Analysis published in the British Medical Journal reveals that 23% of the UK’s “disease burden” but it only receives 6% of total medical research funding.
It is estimated that annual mental health research spending is £74m, most of which is through government agencies rather than charities or other organisations.
Mark Winstanley, chief executive of the charity Rethink Mental Illness said: “This is a welcome move and we hope the other main parties also make this issue a priority. It’s a scandal that our understanding of mental illness and the best treatments, still lags so far behind our understanding of physical illnesses. It is yet another area in which people with mental health problems are expected to put up with second best.”
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said people would be sceptical of future promises from the deputy prime minister.
“He promised parity between mental and physical health, but ended up presiding over a situation where vulnerable people are forced to travel across the country for treatment and others kept in police cells because a short of beds.”
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