Samaritans statement on the Deputy Prime Minister’s announcement for first ever mental health waiting times standard

Catherine Johnstone, Chief Executive of Samaritans, said:

“We welcome the prominence that the Deputy Prime Minister gave to mental health in his speech yesterday, which demonstrates the progress made in raising this issue higher up on the political agenda.

“At Samaritans we are acutely aware that mental ill health can have a devastating effect on the quality of life of many of our callers. Too often services lack the funding required, meaning that not everyone has easy, fast access to high quality mental health services when they need them most.  Reducing waiting times is highly likely therefore to help in the long term to reduce the number of people who die by suicide each year.

“We back the aspiration to achieve parity of esteem between mental health and physical health services but we now need to see this ambition translated into action. We would urge all the main political parties to make sure that the issue of mental health receives the high priority that it deserves. We need to see tangible commitments in their forthcoming general election manifestos, to improve access to the full range of mental health services, including crisis care as well as talking therapies.”