The Green Party of England and Wales conference, meeting in Nottingham from 22-25 February 2013, condemned cuts to mental health services taking place around the country, warning that they are leaving people stranded.
In November 2012, mental health charity MIND published the results of three surveys showing that mental health services in the UK are overstretched, that people are not being assessed quickly enough and many people needing treatment are not getting access to services at all.
Now services that support mental health sufferers are being cut back further by local councils and health bodies in many parts of the country.
Adrian Ramsay, Green Party Home Affairs spokesperson, proposed an emergency motion highlighting the impact of cuts to mental health services.
He declared: “Mental health problems are common and rising but people who need support are being left stranded by a severely overstretched system. People who have mental health problems should have easy access to professional support and treatment.
"Huge Government cuts to funding for local services mean that people have to fight to get access to services – the opposite of how mental health support should work. It’s crucial that the Government properly funds mental health services and treats mental health issues as seriously as other health problems.”
During the Greens' conference, new party leader Ms Natalie Bennett signed the party up to the 'Time To Change' campaign, which is raising awareness of mental health problems in order to tackle discrimination in society.
Ms Bennett explained: “Many people experience mental health difficulties at some point in their lives, with numbers increasing due to widening inequality and economic uncertainty in recent years.
"Despite this, mental health is something that we are not very good at talking about as a society. The Green Party is signing the Time to Change pledge to help create a positive shift in public attitudes towards mental health issues, to promote wellbeing, and to eradicate discrimination and stigma.
"Through working with 'Time to Change' we hope to be an example of best practice as an organisation that supports its staff and members’ mental health,” the Green leader concluded.
* Green Party of England and Wales: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/