Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Mental Health Pledge with MIND - The Lib Dem Repsonse



Hello and welcome to a bonus post this week on my blog.  See, I do spoil you!
  

Check out last week’s post which was a mixture of comedy, curry and complaining by clicking here. My normal blog post will appear here later this week.

 

Below is an email I sent out to the major Political party leaders on 20th March as part of a campaign by Mind, the mental health charity, which I am proud to be a member of.  To date, this is the only reply I have had so far which is from the Liberal Democrats. Given how many people will have taken part in Mind’s campaign I assumed the parties would have a generic adjustable response they would reply to all with… Maybe that is too organised!

 

I’ve posted a few new YouTube videos recently too (to cheer you up!) they are beneath this post.    Thank you once again for reading and sharing my blog. It means the world to me. TTFN xx

 

Sent on  Mar 20, 2015

Mr Clegg

I need your help.

My Mother died when I was 13. 4 years before that, she forced my Father out of the family home and her drinking became severe. Her drinking resulted in a 9 year old boy learning to cook, clean and care ALONE for a drunken 47 year old whilst taking himself to school. Somehow I survived that. Somehow I got 12 GCSEs and 3 A-Levels.

BUT it left a scar. I am 25 and I have been under investigation for almost 6 months with suspect bi-polar. I am on long term medication but find it hard to afford the monthly prescription on-top of the issues I have with work and confrontation. I still not have been assigned to a specialist for my suspected Bi-polar. I have seen 1 specialist once. I have a blog detailing my story at www.MattStreuli.uk

Mental health services are on their knees and people like me, hard working and wanting to recover, are being failed by the NHS. Over the past five years, Mental Health Trusts have seen funding cuts of 8.25% - around £600m.

The Government’s recent announcement of extra funding for children and young people’s mental health services is a step in the right direction and a reflection of the scale of under resourcing. But the rest of mental health services are suffering just as much and need significant investment. The statistics speak for themselves:

• Referrals to community mental health teams have risen by 20%
• Clinical Commissioning Groups are ignoring guidance from NHS England which instructs them to increase their mental health spending in 2015/16.
• The amount spent by NHS Wales on mental health fell by £24.3 million between 2011/12 and 2012/13.
• 2,100 mental health inpatient beds have closed since 2011, and the average adult acute admission ward now has a bed occupancy rate of 101 per cent.
• Between 2012 and 2014, the number of people who have to travel long distances – up to 300 miles - for emergency mental health services doubled from 1301 to 3024.
• Last year, over 6000 people were held in a police cell when having a mental health crisis, instead of a more appropriate health setting. - Is a Police cell cheaper than a hospital bed? So cheap we don't care?
• 75 per cent of people with anxiety and depression get no treatment at all in the UK. - HELLO!!!! ME!!!
• 3,300 mental health nursing posts have been lost in four years.

It simply isn’t good enough, not in 2015. Mental health has always been underfunded, and if we are ever going to achieve true parity of esteem, the funding needs to be addressed.

With the election just around the corner, will you publicly commit to increasing the NHS mental health budget by at least 10 per cent, in real terms, over the course of the next Parliament?

Mental health should not be hidden away. Mental health should have the same respect and importance as physical health.                        You can change my life.

Best Wishes,

Matthew Streuli

 REPLY from Liberal Democrats Apr 29  2015

Dear Matthew,

Thank you for your email to Nick Clegg about mental health services.

The Liberal Democrats believe that improving the treatment and prevention of mental illnesses should be a national priority. In Government, Liberal Democrats championed mental health and, in particular, Nick Clegg and Norman Lamb, former Lib Dem Health Minister worked tirelessly towards creating parity of esteem in the way we treat mental and physical illness.

Since 2011, the Coalition invested £400 million to increase access to talking therapies across England. We invested an extra £120 million to help implement the maximum waiting times for mental health from this year, alongside an additional £150 million over five years to improve services for children and young people suffering from eating disorders. Overall, the money going into mental health increased by £302 million in 2014/15.

In last year’s Autumn Statement, the Government also committed a further £2 billion to front-line NHS Services. NHS England wrote to every Clinical Commissioning Group to ask them to increase their mental health spending in real terms, in line with this extra funding.

Yet, there is still a long way to go if we are to reverse years of underinvestment in mental health. As a result of our hard work in Government, it was announced that mental health services in England will receive a further £1.25bn in new funding. The money, spread over five years, will help treat 110,000 more children with mental health issues, and also provides rapid access to treatment for pregnant women and new mothers.

But we need to go even further. If in Government again, the Liberal Democrats would propose topping up the Governments latest budget announcements to invest a total of half a billion pounds per year to improve mental health care and increase investment in mental health research. This essential support will be vital in bringing mental health out of the shadows, and getting people with mental health concerns the support they need now and in years to come.

Our Party is committed to investing in the NHS and protecting our health services, making sure that people with ill-health, whether mental or physical health, get the treatment they need. If you support the Lib Dems in our efforts to end the stigma surrounding mental health, please sign our petition and if you would like more information about the work the Party is doing - or would like to join us and help us get the word out about prioritising mental health care - please find out more about getting involved via our website or look at our 2015 manifesto (http://www.libdems.org.uk/manifesto).

Thank you again for contacting Nick Clegg.

Yours sincerely

Ian Stotesbury
Office of Nick Clegg, Leader of the Liberal Democrats
  
What do you think? Did this sway your vote? Does your party take Mental Health seriously? Let me know, in the comments below!
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