The new taskforce will include Cabinet ministers from across the coalition government.
The Deputy Prime Minister has been campaigning on mental health issues for many years, focusing on bringing treatment for mental health problems in line with physical health, and ending years of discrimination.
In October this year, he announced a £120 million investment in mental health. This will include the introduction in April 2015 of the first ever waiting time standards for mental health in the NHS.
The government’s mental health strategy has also built a firm foundation for improving services across the country with an investment of £400 million to expand talking therapies.
The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:
Mental health affects every aspect of our lives. One in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem and it costs the country more than £100 billion. This is too big an issue for the NHS to deal with alone. The whole of government needs to combine its efforts and pool its resources to help the millions of people whose mental health condition is preventing them from getting on in life.
For far too long mental health has been in the shadows and many people have suffered in silence as a result. It is time to turn a corner on outdated attitudes and bring mental health issues out into the open. It is time that the whole of society started providing the care and support to those with mental health conditions in the same way that they would to those with a physical condition.
Mental Health Taskforce
The taskforce will include the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt, Home Secretary Theresa May, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, Business Secretary Vince Cable, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and ministers from Education, Health and Defence.
The taskforce will meet within days and urgently examine:
- how we can improve mental health services for young people
- welfare and employment issues and helping people back into work
- how we can improve crisis care and prevent the large numbers of people with severe mental health problems ending up in police cells and prisons
Mental health statistics
- 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year
- 3 children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health condition
- only a quarter of people with a common mental health problem get treatment, mostly in the form of medication
- 90% of prisoners have at least one mental health disorder, including personality disorder, psychosis, neurosis, alcohol misuse and drug dependence
- 2.3 million people with a mental health condition are out of work and mental health conditions are the primary reason for claiming health related benefits
- mental illness costs the country as much as £100 billion each year through lost working days, benefits and treating preventable illness
- the most common mental health problem is depression which is experienced by 8 to 12% of the population