City expert comments on new mental health shadow cabinet position
New role has immediately put mental health right at the heart of the political debate, says Professor Alan Simpson
Jeremy Corbyn has announced that there will be a dedicated minister for mental health in his shadow cabinet.
The newly created post will see Luciana Berger MP focus directly on mental health issues and consider how they can best be addressed by the NHS.
Commenting on the announcement, Alan Simpson, Professor of Collaborative Mental Health Nursing at City University London, said:
“This is fantastic news. Jeremy Corbyn has immediately put mental health right at the heart of the political debate, which is where it has to be.
“We know from research that mental illness and mental distress is increasingly prevalent in our society as people struggle with the complexities and pressures of modern living. Exploring ways to reduce the incidence of mental illness through creating healthier ways of working and living, alongside improving the ways we support and help people to recover and engage in purposeful lives again has to be central to any health and social care policy worth talking about.
“On his first day as Labour leader, Mr Corbyn made a very thoughtful speech about the need to recognise that mental health is an intrinsic part of our national health service and an absolutely central part of people’s lives. He also spoke movingly about the need to stop the cheap jibes and unpleasant language to describe people who are going through a crisis in their lives and to recognise that we could all be in that place.
“He was spot on and I have no doubt many mental health workers, service users and their families will be cheering loudly to hear a leading politician take such a bold, unequivocal stance.“I hope the new Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Luciana Berger, will as a first step get out and about and listen to what mental health service users and people working in health and social care services have to say. There are lots of great ideas and people out there that need to be supported.”