Campaigners from the charity Rethink Mental Illness met with Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson to ask him to make funding for local mental health services a top priority over the next five years.
The meeting in Pendle had been organised by local Rethink Mental Illness support groups as part of it’s “Fair Funding” campaign, calling for more investment in mental health care across England.
Mental illness accounts for 23% of the total impact of ill health in the UK, but gets only 13% of the NHS budget. Research suggests funding has been cut by as much as £598 million in the past five years.
The campaigners are asking Mr Stephenson to raise these issues with the Prime Minister, and with local health decision-makers, to make sure funding for mental health is high on their agendas.
Cheryl Raw, campaigner for Rethink Mental Illness in Pendle, said: “One in four people in Pendle will have a mental health problem at some point in their lives, but too many people aren’t getting the support they need.
“That’s because mental health services are underfunded and overstretched.
“We’re really pleased to have met Andrew Stephenson, as it was a good way to discuss these hugely important issues.
“We talked about the role he can play to improve services locally and we also discussed raising these issues with local NHS chiefs to make sure they treat mental health as a top priority in Pendle.”
Mr Stephenson said: “I was delighted to meet Cheryl to discuss mental health services in Pendle and East Lancashire. This is an issue I have raised in the past with the local Clinical Commissioning Group and following my meeting with Cheryl I’ll be approaching them again.
“I applaud the efforts of Rethink Mental Illness.”