Mental health report - action and resources are needed to tackle social exclusion

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The King's Fund today called on the government to follow up today's report on mental health and social exclusion with real resources, to ensure that people with mental health problems can play a full role in their communities.

The King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson said:

'We welcome this report. We have known for years about the barriers faced by people with mental health problems. They are evident in the stigma they face on a daily basis, and the discrimination they face in seeking employment and accessing public and financial services. It's a vicious circle. Being excluded leads to mental health problems; mental health problems lead to exclusion.'

The King's Fund believes the report could be a watershed in how society thinks about mental health, and how public services support people with mental health needs.

Simon Lawton-Smith, The King's Fund senior policy advisor on mental health, said:

'We need a sea-change in thinking about what people with mental health problems can do, not what they cannot do. Society must stop treating them as second-class citizens. The report sets out an admirably ambitious agenda that requires the active co-operation of national, regional and local organisations. But unless the extra resources promised in the report are delivered, hard-pressed local services will find it difficult to make this work a priority.'

Notes to editors

1. For further information or interviews with senior policy advisor Simon Lawton-Smith, please contact Beverley Cohen at the King's Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2632.

2. The King's Fund's major inquiry into mental health in London, London's State of Mind (November 2003), recommended increased mental health promotion to help increase social inclusion for people with mental health problems.

3. The King's Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through grants. We are a major resource to people working in health, offering leadership and education courses; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.