MP highlights deepening crisis in mental health care

The Shadow Minister of Mental Health has said it is crucial that people receive the support they need when dealing with conditions such as depression and anxiety.

Labour MP Luciana Berger was appointed by her party’s new leader Jeremy Corbyn last month – the first time that a dedicated brief for mental health has been handed to an individual attending cabinet-level meeting.

Ms Berger, regarded as one of her party’s rising stars, said she was under no doubt that the new role had become essential.

“There is a real crisis in mental health care in this country,” said the Liverpool Wavertree MP. “In the last few years in particular it has got worse.”

“Budgets have been reduced and reduced and reduced. As one senior figure in mental health said to me recently ‘It is buckling.’

“There are issues right across the NHS, but particularly in mental health. I’m hearing time and time again that we are in a crisis.”

The 34-year-old has got to know the subject well having previously served as a Shadow Public Health Minister and she said that the strain being placed on services had been raised many times on the doorstep during the General Election campaign earlier this year.

“Too many things are going backwards in mental health,” she said. “All the Clinical Commission Groups are supposed to be increasing the amount they spend on mental health in line with an uplift in overall budgets. We’ve shown that is not the case.

“We had the email a few months ago that showed there wasn’t a bed in the country for anyone that was in mental health crisis. There are too many stories like that.”

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