LibLink: Norman Lamb on a mission

 

Over on Huffington Post, Norman Lamb has written about his campaign to end discrimination against mental health.

The Liberal Democrats are on a mission to end the discrimination against mental health. From Paul Burstow who changed the law to give mental health equality with physical health to my work ensuring there is proper mental health crisis care available across the country.

Nick Clegg has announced the first ever waiting time standards, ending Labour’s discrimination against mental health that meant it missed out when money was tight. And we’ve committed over a billion pounds to revolutionise children’s mental health. In the next parliament we will go further and invest at least £3.5billion to guarantee better support for people with mental health problems – and improve wellbeing and mental health for everyone.

He writes about the mental health needs of military veterans.

… mental illness can affect ex-service men and women of all ages, and in many different ways. I have heard many of their stories, and I know that one of the most pernicious problems is the stigma they often feel in asking for help. This can lead to a dangerous and destructive spiral, leaving in its wake anything from damaged and broken relationship to the desperation of drug and alcohol abuse. Far too often, it also leads to homelessness, with figures from the British Legion suggesting that around six in every 100 homeless Londoners are veterans.

It’s simply not good enough to leave our thanks for veterans to a few days a year. Those who have given so much of themselves to help keep Britain safe deserve more than occasional warm words and a pat on the back. They deserve to get all the help and support they need to be safe and well. Liberal Democrats will make sure they get it.

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3 Comments

  • Nobody can argue with him when he writes about the mental health needs of military veterans.

    “… mental illness can affect ex-service men and women of all ages, and in many different ways. I have heard many of their stories, and I know that one of the most pernicious problems is the stigma they often feel in asking for help. This can lead to a dangerous and destructive spiral, leaving in its wake anything from damaged and broken relationship to the desperation of drug and alcohol abuse. Far too often, it also leads to homelessness, with figures from the British Legion suggesting that around six in every 100 homeless Londoners are veterans.”

    Except perhaps Iain Duncan Smith and The Conservatives whose five years of cutting social security support for people such as veterans who are damaged, have had broken relationship, suffer the desperation of drug and alcohol abuse which has resulted in homelessness.

    The Conservative plans for even more drastic cuts in the social security budget will hit exactly these people.
    The Conservative Plan is to force on us a country with homelessness and food banks ” fit for heroes”.

  • Stephen Campbell 27th Apr '15 - 6:10pm

    I will begin by saying that Norman Lamb has done great work in government for the mentally ill, especially those who are in work. I do feel he is a good man and has worked very hard for people like me.

    But it is not enough, especially when it comes to those too ill to work due to their mental health condition, a position I was once in. The cruel, arbitrary sanctions by the DWP is hitting those with mental illnesses the hardest. In 2009, 35% of claimants who were sanctioned had a mental illness. In 2013, it had gone up to 58% (source: http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/benefit-sanctions-have-driven-people-to-suicide-110?utm_source=vicetwitteruk). This is having a devastating effect on some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Since 2012, there have been at least 40 confirmed cases where people have taken their lives due to DWP sanctions or errors (source: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/mps-report-benefits-cuts-driving-5388705).

    Let that sink in: at least 40 people sent to an early and unnecessary death due to this government’s actions.

    People warned both the Conservatives and Lib Dems something like this would happen, based on the scale of the cuts and provisions in the Welfare Reform Bill. Those people, who often worked with disabled and mentally ill people were told they were “scaremongering”. On forums such as this one, they were called names, such as “Labour Tro11”.

    These people did nothing wrong. They did not deserve to die at the altar of austerity. They did not crash the economy. Their only “crime” was to be too ill to work.

    If there had been at least 40 deaths due to government policy among a different section of society, say, the affluent middle classes, it would be a national scandal. But since these people were on benefits, the vast majority of the media has been silent. After all, people on benefits are not “strivers”. They’re not part of “Alarm Clock Britain”. They’re “scroungers”, which is not too far removed from calling them “useless eaters” as certain nasty regimes have done in the past.

    The Lib Dems have done far too little to challenge the sanctions regime and the WCA in the DWP. If the Lib Dems are part of the new government, what, if anything, will be done to halt these unnecessary deaths and what will be done to return some semblance of compassion to the DWP?

    Or will you continue to make the most vulnerable suffer and pay the ultimate price for the sins of the financial and political classes?

  • Stephen Campbell 27th Apr ’15 – 6:10pm

    Stephen, as usual you make many valid points.
    The record of the last five years has been a matter of shame.

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