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Cabinet champion needed for better mental health for all, says new coalition

20th June 2008

'A New Vision for Mental Health, from the Future Vision Coalition', calls for action to build on the successes of the National Service Framework (NSF) for Mental Health, to put mental wellbeing at the centre of public policy and to improve the quality of life of all people with mental health problems.

It argues that action is needed to promote better mental health for all and to identify children at risk of mental distress for targeted support. It calls on mental health services to focus on helping people to get their lives back, not just to manage their illness, and to give those who use services more control over how money is spent on them.

A New Vision for Mental Health says that mental wellbeing is the business of the whole of government, not just the Department of Health. It needs a champion in the Cabinet to ensure all departments are working together to promote good mental health and to bring the voices of those who have mental health problems to the centre of government.

Commenting on the paper, Steve Shrubb, director of the Mental Health Network which represents the majority of mental health trusts said:

"Mental Health impacts on a number of different government departments from the Department of Work and Pensions to the Home Office.  We need to build on the work of the previous NSF to make services co-ordinated across government.

"Whilst we all come from different parts of the mental health world, we agree that this will require a cabinet level champion to help set out the strategic vision of what services should look like to help make sure that, on the ground, services are joined up and work as effectively as possible."

Sainsbury Centre chief executive Angela Greatley said:

"Mental health services now do more than ever to support people in their own communities. But they have yet to focus on helping people to build lives for themselves and achieving their potential in life. This is the next big step for mental health care in England. It means putting those who use services in control of their own lives and ensuring that all people with mental health problems are given effective help to keep their lives on track."

Richard Webb and Jenny Goodall, co-chairs of the ADASS Mental Health, Drugs and Alcohol Network, said:

"We really welcome this ground-breaking Future Vision paper. We are working together to ensure better outcomes for people with mental health needs and to help create a mentally healthy society, as well as improving our services."

Together Chief Executive Liz Felton said:

"This is an excellent document as it recognises that people who use mental health support want and have a right to the same life chances that everyone else has. This means we need to see mental health in its broadest sense from working with employers to influencing government policy. This vision provides an clear blueprint for the future of mental health support and we were pleased to be part of the coalition."

Rethink Chief Executive Paul Jenkins said:

"There is a need for a new conversation on mental health that recognises the rights of people with mental health problems to recover a quality of life which they are empowered to control. The vision paper sets out a coherent direction for what mental health services should look like in the future and recognises that this conversation must involve everyone from service users through to employers and government."

Dr Andrew McCulloch, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said:

"The amount of money currently spent on promoting good mental health is completely inadequate, considering the huge impact poor mental health can have on individuals' life and work. The government needs to readdress its priorities and treat mental health promotion with the same urgency, and financial commitment, it does physical health problems such as obesity and smoking."


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Article Information

Title: Cabinet champion needed for better mental health for all, says new coalition
Author: Martine Hamilton
Article Id: 7214
Date Added: 20th Jun 2008

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