For too long mental health issues have been side lined in society and it is important that this is changed.
Poor mental health is the largest cause of disability in the UK and James thinks it is right that people be helped any way possible. He feels, it is encouraging that Ministers have now taken steps to ensure that mental health conditions are treated with the same importance as physical health. Since 2011 the Government has committed £400 million to support psychological therapies, including depression, for adults, children and young people.
Patients needing treatment for a mental health problem can now choose where they get their care. In addition, waiting times for mental health treatment, including a maximum waiting time of 18 weeks for talking therapy are being introduced, ensuring that 300,000 more people can access talking therapies, on top of the 600,000 that already receive them.
James is pleased that Ministers have committed to improving mental health crisis care with the Government negotiating the Crisis Care Concordat. This sets out the standards of care people should expect if they suffer a mental health crisis and details how the emergency services should respond.
He also welcomes the £54 million that Ministers have invested in a dedicated programme for children and young people and established the new Children and Young People's Mental Health and Well-Being Taskforce. To build on this work the Chancellor has announced that the Government will invest £1 billion over the next five years to start new access standards which will see over 110, 000 more children cared for over the next Parliament. Alongside this, the Government will be providing £118 million by 2018-9 to complete the roll-out of the Children and Young People's Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies programme.
This Government is taking the necessary steps to establish and reinforce the necessary support infrastructure, but James believes that more still needs to be done to remove the stigma that some mental health issues still occupy in society.
James agrees that mental health must be given the same prominence as physical health and he is glad that the manifesto sets out to further advance that cause. He has hosted a mental health summit here in Wells last year so that he could bring local providers together to discuss how better to provide for those living with mental health conditions in the community. James is also proud to be a patron of Wells based charity Heads Up.