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Theresa May pledges major mental health care policy shake-up

Mrs May has pledged to 'rip up' the 1983 Mental Health Act Credit: Jack Taylor/PA

Theresa May has announced a Conservative plan to overhaul Britain's mental health policies as part of the biggest planned reforms to mental health care made in 30 years.

Mrs May has pledged to make "ripping up" the current Mental Health Act - in place since 1983 - and replacing it with a new Mental Health Treatment Bill an early priority following the June 8 general election in a bid to ensure the issue is "taken far more seriously".

The reforms are also motivated by concerns that "vulnerable people are being subject to detention, including in police cells, unnecessarily" amid rising numbers of people being detained or "sectioned" under the Mental Health Act, according to the Tory leader.

She said: "We are going to roll out mental health support to every school in the country, ensure that mental health is taken far more seriously in the workplace, and raise standards of care with 10,000 more mental health professionals working in the NHS by 2020."

10,000
more mental health professionals working in the NHS by 2020, according to the pledge

Mrs May also promised "sweeping" reforms to the Equalities Act, including giving those who suffer from intermittent conditions like depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder the same protection currently given to those with problems which have lasted over 12 months, in a bid to prevent discrimination at work.

She said: "These reforms are a vital part of my plan to build a fairer society for all, not just the privileged few, and they demonstrate the positive difference that strong and stable leadership makes.

"Jeremy Corbyn is too weak, and his policies are too nonsensical, to help those who rely on our NHS and mental health services."

Former Liberal Democrat health minister Norman Lamb dismissed the pledge as "meaningless rhetoric" and raised questions over the funding of the plan.

He said: "I'm sick and tired of great rhetoric from this Government about their commitment to mental health but the reality for families across our country is just so very different.

"How can we believe anything they say when they have made it clear today that they won't invest any more from extra taxation.

"It's meaningless rhetoric."

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity Sane, agreed there needed to be assurances of funding for the plan.

She said: "In order for Theresa May's ambitious vision for mental health reform to be realised, we need to guarantee that alongside the measures proposed, resources are placed in frontline services."

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