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.”


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.

About Julia Manning

Julia is a social pioneer, writer and campaigner. She studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991, later specialising in visual impairment and diabetes. During her career in optometry, she lectured at City University, was a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital and worked with Primary Care Trusts. She ran a domiciliary practice across south London and was a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. Julia formed 20/20Health in 2006. Becoming an expert in digital health solutions, she led on the NHS–USA Veterans’ Health Digital Health Exchange Programme and was co-founder of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Her research interests are now in harnessing digital to improve personal health, and she is a PhD candidate in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) at UCL. She is also dedicated to creating a sustainable Whole School Wellbeing Community model for schools that builds relationships, discovers assets and develops life skills. She is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine’s Digital Health Council. Julia has shared 2020health's research widely in the media (BBC News, ITV, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions & Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Woman's Hour, LBC) and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week.
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1 Response to Equal treatment for Depression needs legal force

  1. Pingback: 20 things to make you happy on international happiness day - Battle of Mind Blog

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