Mental Health care must not be ignored - HOWARTH

August 14, 2008 12:00 PM

David Howarth MPDavid Howarth, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge, has told listeners of the local 209 Radio Station that the government needs to sort out Cambridge's mental health funding formula.

Speaking to presenter Giles Chesterman, in the "Making Mental Notes" programme on 209 Mr Howarth said:

"The closure of the Young People's Psychiatric Service was completely unfair and a disaster. Resources were taken away at a time when mental health services needed more money. The funding formula for meeting mental health needs in the City is completely unfair. We are not given the money that local needs would justify.

He also said he didn't agree with taking away incapacity benefit from claimants, but favoured a more positive approach.

"To say that 80 per cent of the people drawing incapacity benefit are a problem is quite wrong. That figure is a distortion. It refers to the fact that 80 per cent of people would like to be in a position to work but can't. There really needs to be more money and help for people when they first get ill, and a proper assessment of what is wrong with them, then they wouldn't need to stay in the benefits system.

"We need to actively involve people in the community. Mentally ill people need to have opportunities created for them, and to be given positive feedback on what they are doing. A stick and carrot approach doesn't work if all you are seen to be using is the stick. "

Mr Howarth ended by saying that mental health illness was one of the biggest problems facing Society:

"Mental illness is one of the biggest issues facing society today, and one of the most serious parts of the problem is allowing people to overcome the stigma of having a mental illness so that they are not frightened to admit they are ill. We need a national campaign to present people with the facts of mental illness not the prejudices."

The programme can be listened to again on: http://www.makingmentalnotes.209.co.uk

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