Nick Clegg has announced waiting time targets for people with mental health problems in England.
From next April people with depression should begin “talking therapy” treatments within eighteen weeks, and young people with psychosis for the first time will be seen within fourteen days, which is the same target as cancer patients, reports the BBC.
This new plan will also see suicidal patients get the same priority as people who have suspected heart attacks.
But Mr Clegg will pledge to extend the extra money for mental health in next Parliament if the Lib Dems are in government, to introduce similar targets for conditions such as bipolar and eating disorders.
The Lib Dem leader will say much progress has been made in ending the stigma around mental health but more needs to be done, adding: “I want this to be a country where a young dad chatting at the school gates will feel as comfortable discussing anxiety, stress, depression as the mum who’s explaining how she sprained her ankle.”
Mark Winstanley, chief executive officer at Rethink Mental Illness, said: “This is a watershed moment for everyone affected by mental illness and has the potential to improve the lives of millions.”
Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sean Duggan said: “The provision of additional funding to invest in crisis care and early intervention should help to overcome the current postcode lottery in access to these essential health services.”
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