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LibDems promise multi-billion pound mental health boost

Party pledges £8bn more for NHS by 2020

Adrian O'Dowd

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The Liberal Democrat Party today set out its stall for the general election by promising to spend £3.5bn more on mental health services in England by 2020.

The party, launching its Manifesto for the Mind, said it was pledging an extra £8bn for the NHS by 2020, with half a billion a year dedicated to improving mental health care.

This money would be spent in various ways to “revolutionise” children's and adult mental health care including: 

  • £250m over five years for pregnant women and mums dealing with depression including eight new mother and baby units for inpatient care and 40 new community services    
  • New waiting time standards for people in crisis and for conditions such as bipolar disorder
  • Hundreds of thousands more people getting access to talking therapies for anxiety and depression.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said: “In Britain today, millions of people are denied the opportunity to get on and live happy, fulfilling lives because they live with mental health issues.

“One in four of us will experience mental health problems at some point in our lives. And yet, for decades, mental health services have been neglected by successive governments, the poor relation of physical health problems.

“That's why in government, the Liberal Democrats have slowly started to undo that damage. In the coalition government's final budget we secured more than a billion pounds to revolutionise services for children and young people, alongside the first ever waiting times standards and a plan to roll out talking therapies across England.”

In addition to that £1bn already agreed, the Liberal Democrats intended to add another £2bn over the course of the next parliament, meaning an additional £3.5bn would go to mental health by 2020.

“But we cannot and must not rest there,” he said. “Equality for people with mental health issues is a liberal mission. As this document sets out, in government again, we will continue to put mental health front and centre of the political debate.”

The party was the first to put equality for people with mental health problems on the front page of its full general election manifesto, he added.

“Only the Liberal Democrats can and will make sure mental health is treated with the same urgency as physical health, with money to back that up, and challenge the stigma every day.”

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for health Norman Lamb said: “This government has made great strides towards better mental health care. We have invested millions in talking therapies, eating disorders and children's mental health.”

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