More funding needed for mental health in stressful modern Britain (The Mirror)

When the Norwegian prime minister was diagnosed with depression, he was given a month off work and allowed the space and time to get well.

Can you imagine such a thing in Britain?

I hope one day soon we too approach mental health with the openness of our Scandinavian friends, for one in four of us is dealing with a mental health issue right now.

Up to 12% of us may have depression.

As Mental Health Week draws to a close, it is worth reminding ourselves that it costs the UK £105billion a year in days lost to work and treatment for mental illness.

One of my first moves as leader was to appoint our first-ever cabinet-level shadow minister with responsibility for mental health – Luciana Berger – in recognition of the scale of the problem, and that we have not yet as a nation arrived at the right way to help those in need.


Our lives have become so stressful – we work long hours with among the fewest public holidays in the EU.


Rising job insecurity, the high cost of living and the constant juggle to make ends meet – no wonder so many of us feel on the edge.

If the £1billion in additional funding by 2020 to improve mental health care is forthcoming from Mr Cameron’s government then that can only be welcome. But it is no good cutting at one end only to apply the bandages at the other.


Children in distress must be a priority. Three children in every classroom now need help with their mental health, but central government cuts are destroying a vital lifeline to children and their parents.


In Oxfordshire this week, in David Cameron’s constituency, mums and dads stood in defence of their children’s services, threatened with the axe by a council told by No 10 to show no mercy.


For the Prime Minister’s mother and aunt, these are cuts too far – they have joined the protest.


Good on them. If Mr Cameron cannot show mercy to parents desperate to save their families from despair, let’s hope he will heed the good sense spoken by his relatives.