Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will establish and chair a new Mental Health Taskforce involving cabinet ministers from across the coalition, it has been announced.
Clegg has campaigned on mental health issues for many years, focusing on bringing treatment for mental health problems in line with physical health, and ending years of discrimination.
The taskforce will include the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt, Home Secretary Theresa May, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, Business Secretary Vince Cable, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and ministers from education, health and defence.
The taskforce will examine:
• How mental health services for young people can be improved
• Welfare and employment issues and helping people back into work
• How crisis care can be improved and preventing the large numbers of people with severe mental health problems ending up in police cells and prisons.
“Mental health affects every aspect of our lives,” Clegg said. “One in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem and it costs the country more than £100 billion. This is too big an issue for the NHS to deal with alone. The whole of government needs to combine its efforts and pool its resources to help the millions of people whose mental health condition is preventing them from getting on in life.
“For far too long mental health has been in the shadows and many people have suffered in silence as a result. It is time to turn a corner on outdated attitudes and bring mental health issues out into the open. It is time that the whole of society started providing the care and support to those with mental health conditions in the same way that they would to those with a physical condition.”