New Government taskforce must act urgently, says mental health charity

The charity Rethink Mental Illness says a new Government taskforce on mental health must act urgently to have an impact ahead of the General Election in 2015.

Responding to the launch of the taskforce today by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Rethink Mental Illness CEO Mark Winstanley said:

“This is an interesting move by the Deputy Prime Minister. The fact that such a wide range of cabinet ministers are involved suggests the Government recognises that mental health affects every aspect of society – from our families and communities, to the health system, schools, business and the economy.

“But if this taskforce is going to make a real difference for the millions of people affected by mental illness, it must take urgent action.

“That means, for example, putting genuine investment into Early Intervention services, which play a vital role in helping young people with serious mental health problems to recover and get on with their lives.

“It also means improving support for people with mental illness in the workplace. Mental ill health is the single biggest cause of lost days in employment, but people rarely receive any support to manage their condition at work, or to go back to employment after being ill.

“Crisis care is another critical issue. It’s a national disgrace that thousands of people with severe mental illness end up in police cells each year, because there is no proper crisis care in their communities. Many others are simply being left to fend for themselves. That urgently needs to change, as it’s costing lives.

“This taskforce could potentially be an important step towards addressing those issues. We will be watching with interest to what action it takes in the run up to the General Election next May.”

For more information, please contact Brian Semple, News and Media Manager for Rethink Mental Illness, on 0207 840 3043 or

Notes to editors

Rethink Mental Illness is a charity that believes a better life is possible for millions of people affected by mental illness.

For over 40 years we have brought people together to support each other. We run services and support groups that change people’s lives and challenge attitudes about mental illness.

We directly support almost 60,000 people every year across England to get through crises, to live independently and to realise they are not alone.

We give information and advice to 500,000 more and we change policy for millions.
For more information go to

Brian Semple
News and Media Manager
020 7840 3043
Follow me on twitter @SempleSemple