Letter – Mental health services must become a priority

Dear Editor,

Mental health services have often seemed to be the lowest priority when it comes to the NHS, under successive governments.  I believe this approach is fundamentally wrong: mental health needs to be considered as important as physical health.

Over the last 24 hours, I have learned of two alarming pieces of news.  After a psychiatric hospital in York (Bootham Park Hospital) closed, patients were transferred to hospitals in Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Darlington and Durham – where services are no doubt already overstretched.

Meanwhile, demand for these services is increasing: for example, referrals to the mental health charity Mind have increased by as much as 91% in the last 12 months in Redcar and Cleveland.  Of course they do a phenomenal job, but we cannot rely upon charity alone to deal with core services at a time of NHS underfunding.  It’s time to give the NHS the resources it needs to make Britain a world leader in mental health.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP

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