Backbench Business — [1st Allotted Day]
Nicky Morgan (Loughborough, Conservative)
I beg to move,
That this House
has considered the matter of mental health.
I am particularly grateful to all members, old and new, of the Backbench Business Committee for allocating time for this debate in the Chamber. The effort to secure the debate has been done jointly with my hon. Friend Mr Walker, the chairman of the all-party group on mental health, which he has led so well, and with my hon. Friends the Members for Worthing West (Sir Peter Bottomley), for New Forest East (Dr Lewis) and for Halesowen and Rowley Regis (James Morris)—I hope I have pronounced that one correctly—and the hon. Members for Dagenham and Rainham (Jon Cruddas) and for Foyle (Mark Durkan).
We were quite clear when we put in our bid that we wanted a full debate on the Floor of the House. Why? It is at least four years, and probably slightly longer, since the general topic of mental health was debated in Chamber. That is a long time, given that 25% of the population—one in four people—will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives. Just imagine if this were a physical health condition and it had not been talked about by Members in the House of Commons other than in very specific ways such as Adjournment debates for a very long time.
Mental health comes at an economic and social cost to the UK economy of £105 billion a year, yet mental health has been a Cinderella service—poorly funded compared with other conditions and not spoken about nearly enough either inside or outside this House. It is the largest single cause of disability, with 23% of the disease burden of the NHS, yet the NHS spends only l1% of its budget on mental health problems.