Mental illness “biggest unaddressed health challenge of our age”

Labour Leader Ed Milliband has described mental illness as the “biggest unaddressed health challenge of our age”.

In a speech delivered at the Royal College of Psychiatrists today he said: “Mental health is subject we all, whoever we are, still instinctively avoid. At home, in the workplace and in our communities, it tends to be brushed under the carpet. Teachers and our parents are unlikely to talk to us about mental illness when we are young. And we all fear the unknown.

“Today in 2012, far too many people in this country still feel as if they have to pretend they have something else wrong with them when they are struggling with depression.

“People can be scared to tell their boss. Intimidated by the culture that still surrounds mental illness. Scared into silence. And it’s not just their employers.  It’s their family and friends who don’t know how to react either.”

The Labour leader is setting up a taskforce – led by the chairman of Barts Health NHS Trust, Stephen O’Brien – to draw up a strategic plan for mental health in society.

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