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Charity welcomes government mental health plan

12th September 2006

Mental health charity Mind has welcomed the government's action plan on social exclusion and mental health.

Commitments such as tackling discrimination, investing in combined services for those with complex mental health needs, improving therapy options for young people and building up individuals' skills and confidence in order to assist them back into work have been welcomed, but with a word of caution.

The charity has stated that the principles of the welfare reform agenda look good, but that there will be no quick fixes, particularly when it comes to getting people back into the workplace.

"Today's announcement is very encouraging, but the evidence of the government's commitment will be in funding for the long-term," cautioned Paul Farmer, Mind chief executive.

"We know that people with mental health problems currently on incapacity benefit are often keen to work. But it is far too often the case that, however skilled and enthusiastic they are, their hopes for work are dashed when employers refuse to take them on because of their mental health history.

"The government must urgently fund enhanced anti-stigma programmes," he added.

According to the charity, 84 per cent of those with mental health problems feel isolated.

Further, 93 per cent of family doctors apparently say they have faced prescribing a patient antidepressants because of a lack of availability of other options, such as cognitive behavioural therapy.