To mark our 30th year, the Centre invited supporters and leading experts in mental health to the Houses of Parliament to discuss priorities for mental health policy and practice.
The event was hosted by James Morris MP, who paid tribute to the Centre’s work in promoting evidence-based approaches to tackling mental health. Chaired by Lady Elizabeth Vallance, attendees engaged in frank conversation with Alistair Burt MP, new Minister for Community and Social Care.
The Minister outlined his priorities for mental health policy over the next term of government. He emphasised children’s mental health as a key priority, highlighting that 1 in 10 children require mental health support and pledging £1.4 billion to local and national programmes.
The Minister also stressed the need for improved access to perinatal mental health services, pledging £75 million to reduce the disparity in care across the country. The expansion of psychological services and development of crisis care support were also emphasised, as was the mental health needs of people within the Criminal Justice System.
Delegates also heard from Lord Keith Bradley, who launched the third briefing of the Bradley commission (focusing on people with personality disorder within the criminal justice system). The report highlighted that although two-thirds of prisoners are estimated to have personality disorder traits, only a small proportion receive any support.
A panel including Professor Dame Sue Bailey; Andy Bell; Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind; and Michael Bevan, Mental Health Champion and Councillor for Sherborne Rural took questions from the floor. These included queries about increasing choice of psychological therapies, and funding pressures on local councils.
In response to one, Cllr Bevan encouraged greater openness among MP’s about experience of mental ill-health, commenting, “Few elected MP’s want to be associated with mental health problems… there is nothing to be ashamed of”.
Paul Farmer stressed the need for evidence-based employment support, and Professor Dame Sue Bailey highlighted the mental and physical health needs of those with learning disabilities.
Centre for Mental Health also used the event to launch their new report Aiming for ‘zero suicides’, which evaluated a suicide prevention pilot in East England.
To mark 30 years of the Centre’s cutting edge research, share your birthday wish for mental health with us or see what other supporters are calling for.
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