Alastair Campbell: Government must 'get on top of' mental health to dodge crisis

25 October 2020, 10:22

By Seán Hickey

Tony Blair's former adviser told LBC that mental health is 'falling down the agenda' and must be addressed before it becomes a crisis.

Concerns have grown around how the UK deals with mental illness and as the pandemic sees services stretched, Alastair Campbell was speaking to Andrew Castle about the impending crisis if Government don't address the issue.

"Ultimately ministers have to take responsibility," Mr Campbell said. The former No10 communications director was reflecting on the UK's pandemic response when he related it to the Government's attitude to mental health.

He told Andrew that "in the first three months of this pandemic, neither Boris Johnson nor Matt Hancock had a single meeting with a representative from a mental health organisation."

"Matt Hancock is not just the Secretary of State for Covid, he is the secretary of state for health and mental health is going to be a massive issue in the coming months and years and we have to get on top of it"

Mr Campbell pointed out that only one in four people suffering with mental illness say they can access services they need. He argued that "one in four people that break their leg don't get treatment, one in one get treatment," and this should be the case with mental health.

Alastair Campbell stressed the importance of mental health services during the pandemic
Alastair Campbell stressed the importance of mental health services during the pandemic. Picture: PA

Tony Blair's former adviser reminded Andrew that "David Cameron tried to get it up the agenda, it's falling down the agenda again."

Speaking from his own experience, Mr Campbell revealed he "was too busy drinking" to address his own mental health issues in time gone by, and thankfully he has learned to deal better with it.

He encouraged listeners to "talk to somebody, because that's the first step to recovery," if they are suffering from ill mental health.

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