Nick Clegg pronounced, in his speech to the LibDem conference, that there was ‘outrageous discrimination’ in how the NHS responded to individuals with mental health problems and promised new funding to breach the gap between physical and psychological treatments. According to the Guardian (8.10.14) ‘mental health campaigners’ welcomed this as ‘a significant advance’.

We might be more cautious. First, we have seen similar promises in the past, like the 2011 Government paper boldly titled ‘No Health Without Mental Health’. Secondly the treatment offered is the ‘one size fits all’, short term CBT (and its variations) rather than longer term support as part of the package. Thirdly, the austerity driven Government policies continue to cut and close the network of community based, service user led organisations that people need and value.

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On Thursday 23rd October, West Midlands SWAN in conjuction with UNISON and Birmingham Against the Cuts, will host a meeting entitled 'No to Privatization: the future of children’s services in Birmingham and the national implications'. The meeting's main speakers will be Professor Sue White and Helga Pile (Social Care Lead, Unison). This will be held from 7pm in Committee Rooms 3-4, Birmingham Council House.

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Ruskin College, Oxford is pleased to announce a Social Work Action Network (SWAN) event - 'The Crisis in Mental Health Services' - which will take place on Saturday 28th June 2014.

The crisis in mental health services has become so acute that even the government has had to acknowledge the scale of the problem. Welfare services, which service users and carers rely on are being drastically cut as a result of the politics of austerity and the government’s benefits ‘reforms’ are forcing more and more people into poverty. Meanwhile the gap between the richest and poorest in society is continuing to expand. Practitioners are forced to struggle with high caseloads, reduced resources and a target culture, which is underpinned by market ideology and privatisation.

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