Give mental health same priority as physical, says Royal College of Psychiatrists
Mental health should be given as much priority as physical health, the Royal College of Psychiatrists has claimed, as those with severe mental illness die 15 to 20 years sooner.
''Achieving parity of esteem for mental health is everybody's business and responsibility," said Professor Sue Bailey, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists
10:02PM GMT 25 Mar 2013
The organisations, which take charge of commissioning NHS services from next week, should ensure that patients get ''equivalent levels of access'' to treatments for mental health problems as for physical health problems.
The ''long-standing and continuing'' lack of parity between mental and physical health is ''inequitable and socially unjust'', according to a new report by the College.
''Much has been done to improve mental health in the last 10 years but it still does not receive the same attention as physical health, and the consequences can be serious,'' said Professor Sue Bailey, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
''People with severe mental illness have a reduced life expectancy of 15 to 20 years yet the majority of reasons for this are avoidable.
''Achieving parity of esteem for mental health is everybody's business and responsibility.
''I therefore urge the Government, policy-makers, service commissioners and providers, professionals and the public to always think in terms of the whole person - body and mind - and to apply a 'parity test' to all their activities and to their attitudes.''
Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb added: ''I have made it clear that our goal - and that of the health and care system - is to make sure that mental health has equal priority with physical health.
''It is very encouraging to see that a number of organisations have made specific commitments to put mental health on a par with physical health as part of this work.
''I will consider these findings and recommendations carefully to think through what more the Government can do. I would urge others in the health and care system to do the same.''