Equal treatment for Depression needs legal force

2020Health claims legal enforcement of key measures are necessary to ensure ‘parity of esteem’ and for Britain to tackle depression in the workplace.

2020depressionthumb2020Health has today published a new report, ‘Whole in One – Achieving equality of status, access and resources for people with depression’, which calls for the legal enforcement of “parity of esteem”, the term used in the NHS for valuing mental health equally with physical health. Around one in six working age adults suffers from a mental illness such as depression, anxiety or mood disorder at any one time and one in four will experience such illness during the course of a year.

The Rt. Hon. Norman Lamb, Minister for Health said, “Following the All-Party report on ‘Parity in progress’ last week, I welcome 2020health’s ‘Whole in One’ report which highlights ways to legally embed parity of esteem for people with depression. I am passionate about improving prevention and services for people with mental illnesses and know that we need radical improvements to ensure people get the help, support and treatment that they need, when they need it.”

Key recommendations from the report include:

• NICE to ensure legally-binding recommendations become standard for mental illness treatments to achieve parity with treatments for physical illness.
• Healthcare bodies to have a legal requirement to fund a range of services to meet local population mental health needs.
• Promote employer’s obligations under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act to support mental wellbeing in the workplace.

2020Health’s report argues that achieving parity of esteem is not just a point of principle but critical for UK plc. Mental illnesses are estimated to cost the UK business economy around £30 billion a year. Self-reported depression is the single most important cause of workplace absenteeism in the UK.

Julia Manning, Chief Executive of 2020Health, said “Parity of esteem has been talked about since the last election, but to become a reality requires legal force behind it. In addition to this, while we continue to treat mental illnesses such as depression as separate from physical illnesses, we perpetuate the myth that ‘mental’ illness isn’t physical, despite many symptoms being experienced physically. Continuing to use the term ‘mental’ conjures up images of people being mad, sad or bad, when the reality is that they are simply ill, just like someone with arthritis, diabetes or ‘flu.”

Emer O’Neill, Chief Executive of Depression Alliance said, “It is well documented that spending on mental illness is not proportional to the devastating impact that mental health problems can have on people’s lives. However, what is particularly worrying is that the gap between spend as a proportion to burden has been increasing since parity of esteem was enshrined in the Health and Social Care Act. We need to do something radical to turn the tide, and using legal force to employees’ rights are protected, and guidance and guidelines for health authorities are created and followed, would be a crucial step.”

PRESS:

11.3.15 – Health 
Julia Manning keeps her finger on the pulse of the NHS


This 2020health report is being funded by an educational grant from Lundbeck, within the guidance of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry code of practice.
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About Julia Manning

Julia Manning is a social entrepreneur, writer, campaigner and commentator. She is based in London and is the founder and Chief Executive of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal. Through networking, technology, research, relationships and campaigning 2020health has influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. Julia studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991. Her career has included being a visiting lecturer at City University, a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital, working with south London Primary Care Trusts and as a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. She specialised in diabetes (University of Warwick Certificate in Diabetic Care) and founded Julia Manning Eyecare in 2004, a home and prison visiting practice for people with mental and physical disabilities using the latest digital technology, which she sold to Healthcall (now part of Specsavers) in 2009. Experiences of working in the NHS, contributing to policy development, raising two children in the inner-city and standing in the General Election in Bristol in 2005 led to Julia forming 2020health at the end of 2006. Julia is a regular guest on TV and radio shows such as BBC News, ITV’s Daybreak/ GMB, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions, BBC Radio, LBC and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week. She is mum to a rugby-mad son, a daughter passionate about Shakespeare, and wife of a comprehensive school assistant head-teacher. She loves gardening, ballet, Zimbabwe, her Westies Skye and Angus, is an honorary research associate at UCL and a Fellow of the RSA.
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