Over on the Left Foot Forward site, Mark Davies, a former special advisor to Jack Straw and now Director of Communications for Rethink, praises the coalition government’s approach to mental health:
Mental health is one of the defining issues of our times. Always present, rarely talked about, people affected by mental illness represent a massive group who continue to face a degree of discrimination which would trigger street protests in any other context. Nine out of ten people with mental health problems experience prejudice…
Judging by his words, the health minister Paul Burstow recognises this. In an article published in Community Care to set the scene for the government’s new mental health strategy, expected later this year, he argues that poor mental health is a key factor in a “miserable chain” which links family breakdown, worklessness, drug and alcohol abuse and crime with long term poverty and exclusion. Tackling this issue, he suggests, is critical to any attempt to reduce deprivation.
The blog post is well worth a read, and I’d just add that the emphasis on mental health reflects a personal passion that both Paul Burstow and Nick Clegg share.
I have heard them both speak eloquently about the importance of doing better by those who run into mental health problems – and stress the importance of doing so regardless of the issue’s usual low public profile.
The full piece is here.