Care Minister Norman Lamb spoke to the Lib Dem Spring conference this weekend about initiatives for improving mental health care, in which he called for a "complete overhaul" of children's mental health services. He started, though, by thanking people who had wished him well over his own son’s illness.
Archie Lamb developed obsessive compulsive disorder at the age of 15 and has battled with drink and drugs since. He is clearly in a position to understand how many others feel about the stigma those with mental health issues face.
Archie Lamb is not alone. Data released from the NHS Mental Health Network states that every year 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem. For many, early intervention and access to proper support is hampered, either by social stigma or lack of funding. Worryingly, a national investment survey for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) found 67 per cent of councils had reduced CAMHS funding between 2010 and 2013. Regional cuts in spending were as high as 12 per cent in the North East and 13 per cent in East of England.
Growing numbers of children and yound adults are presenting with increasingly complex and severe problems, it says, and so support is not able to keep up with demand on services.
Norman Lamb stated, "I want to change the way we think about mental health care so that any child, whether they have a mental illness or simply need support through a difficult time, can get the right help at the right time."
ubu welcomes Mr. Lamb's comments, as well as the government's pledge of an extra £1.25bn for mental health in this week's Budget.
As an organisation, ubu have witnessed firsthand how people living with mental health issues can achieve amazing outcomes -- and reach their full potential -- when given proper levels of support and care. It is essential that politicians fulfill this pledge to overhaul the system and supply quality support.
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