Nick Clegg: No quick fix on mental health problems

20/01/14

Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg says it will take "some time" to sort out problems for young people trying to get help with their mental health.

The deputy prime minister spoke out following a series of special reports looking at the issue.

He's set to unveil the government's latest mental health strategy, with a commitment to make talking therapies available across England by 2018.

He wants more support for patients at 18, when they move to adult services.

Our listeners have been telling us for months, if not years, that services just aren't good enough. You've had nearly four years in charge. Why are things so bad?

"It does take a long time to change attitudes and attitudes are still too backward-looking in too many parts of society on mental health issues," says Mr Clegg.

"We've also got to encourage the people who make decisions about where money is allocated in each local area - my point to them is to attach the right priority to mental health."

Nick Clegg

Councils are having to make big savings and they can't afford to support local child and adolescent mental health services. You're asking them to do more but you're not giving them any more to do it?

"Of course money needs to be saved, it needs to be saved everywhere," the deputy prime minister says.

"But we're protecting money going into the NHS and money that's been made available for mental health services has actually gone up, not down.

"But of course there's a long way to go - we need to make sure talking therapies are available and we need to make sure that as you pass your 18th birthday you're not suddenly left on your own.

"I don't agree everything is going in the wrong [direction]."

The year 2018 will seem like a long time off - it's another four years for people who've been banging their heads against brick walls for years already.

"The worst thing would be to make implausible claims about how long it takes for these things to be delivered. They are complex; we need to train people up," says Mr Clegg.

"We saw just a few days ago a report that too many GPs are not trained to identify mental health problems. Of course we need to change that as well and there's considerable work being done to do that.

"But I think if you compare the debate now to even a few years ago, when people just didn't talk about mental health issues, I think we are turning a page."

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