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Youth mental health commitment from Labour

Youth mental health commitment from Labour

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Ed Miliband has said he will commit the next government to a radical improvement in mental health provision in young people.

As part of its plan to improve the NHS, the Labour Party wants to place more emphasis on the prevention of mental illnesses and better support within a community setting.

The Mentally Healthy Society: The report of the Taskforce on Mental Health in Societyhighlights how half of all hospital in-patients have a mental health condition, rising numbers of young people need serious mental health support, and unaddressed mental health problems are costing the NHS billions each year in terms of worse physical health.

Miliband said: “It cannot be right that when three quarters of adult mental illness begins in childhood, children’s mental health services get just six per cent of the mental health budget – nor that these vital services have been stripped back in recent years while £3bn has been wasted on an NHS reorganisation.

“Labour will work to reverse the damage suffered by child mental health services under this Government. We will set an ambition that, over time, the proportion of the mental health budget spent on children will rise as we make smart investments to improve mental health in childhood, in the process lessening some of the demand on mental health services when young people turn into adults.”

He also pledged more action on child mental health, which is among the priority areas identified by the report, and said that a renewed commitment to early intervention should also guide the work of the next Labour government in this area.

Mental Health is a key  focus for the political parties this year, with Nick Clegg having suggested that the NHS have a “zero suicide” ambition.  Speaking at the launch of Mental health: priorities for change – how those with mental health problems are supported and cared for he said:

“While there are peoplesuffering in silence and their talent and potential are going to waste.

“So it’s time for us to bring mental health out of the shadows and to give people with mental health conditions the support they need and deserve.”

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