The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg has called for a boost in the amount of research that goes into mental health.
A recent analysis published in the British Medical Journal revealed that although mental health accounts for 23% of the UK’s ‘disease burden’ it receives just 6% of total medical research funding.
In a bid to combat this problem, the Liberal Democrat leader said that his party’s next election manifesto would include a pledge to raise annual research spending in England by £50m by 2020. Mr Clegg said:
“My ambition is that we should understand mental health just as well as we understand physical health. I want us to be able to talk about, analyse and treat depression just as we treat diabetes. For far too long mental health has been a bit of a taboo subject - yet it affects one in four people in this country.”
Campaigners and charities across the UK are welcoming the initiative and are hoping that as a result, other political parties will start to think about making this issue a priority. The Chief Executive of Rethink Mental Illness, Mark Winstanley asserted:
“It’s a scandal that our understanding of mental illness and the best treatments still lags so far behind our understanding of physical illnesses. It is yet another area in which people with mental health problems are expected to put up with second best.”
Experts have further fuelling the debate for more time and money to invested in mental health by revealing that antipsychotic medications for people with schizophrenia and psychosis have barely changed over the last few decades and therefore often creates debilitating physical side-effects. Psychiatrists are also calling for more investment into other alternative therapies and treatments to work alongside medication.
Life Works covers treatment programmes for a number of mental illnesses including depression, anxiety, addiction and eating disorders. For more information about any of these please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can also learn more about mental health at the Life Works Knowledge Centre.