Mental health charity Mind has welcomed a pledge by Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg that his party’s general election manifesto will include a commitment to boost mental health research funding.
Mr Clegg said the sector needed a breakthrough equivalent to penicillin, adding: “Mental health issues have been treated as a sort of Cinderella service compared to physical health issues. I want people who are dealing with depression to be as effectively treated as if they had diabetes.
““To that end, the Liberal Democrats will commit in our manifesto to a new research fund which, by the end of next Parliament [in 2020], will be worth £50 million per year.”
Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said on 7 August: “It’s really encouraging to see one of the main parties prioritising mental health at this early stage in the development of their manifestos.
“We look forward to hearing what the other parties consider to be their priorities and what commitments they will make to improving services and support for all of us with mental health problems.
“During the recession, we saw the impact on the country’s mental health, with a significant increase in antidepressant prescribing, use of mental health legislation and, tragically, the number of people taking their own lives.
“Consequently, poor mental health is becoming a national crisis. At a time when demand has never been greater, we know that severe cuts to mental health services, prolonged waiting times and a lack of choice in treatments are making things worse for people living with mental health problems.
“Investment in research is important and needs to be a part of a comprehensive approach to putting mental health on a par with physical health in the lifetime of this Parliament as well as beyond.”
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