Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mental health manifesto

Keeping his word, Nick Clegg has put mental health at the top of the agenda for the LibDems election campaign. Today they published a short manifesto on mental health, the first (as far as I know) manifesto document from any of the parties so far.

It's tempting to look askew at the promises made today, given the poor record of the Coalition in mental health funding and practice. But I hope they keep banging on about it. Instead of the usual bidding wars about immigration, cuts and borrowing, it would be great if the parties got into a bidding war about who would secure the best provision for mental illness.

If there are any Libdems reading this, one thing Manifesto for the Mind missed: the NHS needs to stop using the same discharge model that it applies to people with physical aches and breaks. A broken leg heals, a broken mind can recover but remains susceptible. Mental illness is more like cancer, it is a chronic condition more than it is an acute one, discharging patients and then re-assessing them from scratch each time they re-enter the system is bad for the patient and a waste of resources for the system. Mental illness needs to be treated properly, not on models borrowed from clinical practice elsewhere.

Now all we need is a proper debate about family breakdown, which is both a significant cause of mental illness, and a serious problem in its own right. Dave? Ed? Nigel?

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