Norman Lamb talks about son's mental health struggles

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Norman Lamb said he was not trying to turn his son's mental health into a political issue

Lib Dem Norman Lamb has thanked people for the support his family has received at a "painful" time in relation to his son's mental health issues.

Referring to a Sunday Mirror story, the health minister said his music producer son had been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder aged 15.

There had been "very dark periods", with drink and perhaps drugs, but his son was now clean, he told the paper.

He told Liberal Democrat activists his family's experience was "not unique".

The minister for care and support started his speech at the Lib Dem spring conference in Liverpool by saying: "Before I begin my speech I just wanted to say a few words about a personal matter, something you may have read about or heard about this morning.

"My family has had our own experience of mental health problems... but my family is not unique.

"Our experience has made me even more determined to bring mental health out of the shadows and to fight for better care for all of the families affected."

Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg paid tribute to Mr Lamb in his own keynote conference speech, praising the "dignity and courage" shown by the minister.

New mothers

In an interview with the Sunday Mirror, Mr Lamb said his 27-year-old son Archie - who discovered rapper Tinchy Stryder as a young music producer - had "carried a heavy burden with his ill health".

"He wants to be open about his mental health as this is the source of the problem. We have had a very traumatic 10 years in many ways."

It was confirmed at the Lib Dem conference on Saturday that mental health services in England will receive £1.25bn in next week's Budget.

The extra cash, spent over five years, will be used to treat more than 100,000 young people by 2020. It will also be spent supporting pregnant women and new mothers.

The Liberal Democrats have said mental health will be a key pledge in their election manifesto.