Matt Hancock speech at the Global Mental Health Summit



[Applause] thank you very much Tim for that fantastic introduction and I've I've no doubt that like yesterday today we have a great day ahead of us discussing these vital topics and when I think about the scale of the mental health challenge before us I take some inspiration from a man who battled with his own mental health for his entire life and I use the word battle quite deliberately because while he was a sufferer he was never a victim while he knew what defeat was he was never prone to defeatism and he knew that each day required work just to achieve equilibrium or as he would have put it to keep the black dog on the leash and that man was a Great Britain from a former age Winston Churchill were he alive today he would quite possibly have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and there's certainly no doctor alive who would have approved of Winston Churchill's self medication of champagne with lunch brandy after dinner port scotch and Clara at all hours in between but I have no hesitation no apology for calling Churchill one of this nation's indeed one of the world's greatest ever leaders for whilst he had his many flaws and which of us doesn't he was ahead of his time in many ways partly because he spoke openly about his struggle with depression in the age of the stiff upper lip and buttoned up emotion when discussion of mental illness was seen as a weakness he showed humility and compassion and leadership and thankfully since then added attitudes have changed but the question I want to ask today is have they changed enough have we done enough to tackle stigma prejudice and discrimination that people with mental health conditions in jaw have we ensured that mental health and physical health are treated equally not just in term of resources important as that is but in terms of priorities our priority as a society and have we stopped to think about the mental health impact and the mental health needs of the people we rely on the most our doctors our nurses our paramedics our carers I think that this summit today and today's declaration and our commitment wholeheartedly to achieving equality between mental and physical health is a bold and ambitious statement of intent and for us to deliver on that pledge on a global scale we're going to have to change not just the way the public thinks but the way that politicians think about mental health and we are helping to do that by coming together at this summit I think that this is a defining challenge of our age and it is a challenge that is sadly growing in scale especially amongst young people in the UK one in ten children now has a mental health problem many of them will go on to develop serious mental health problems as adults unless they get the support that they need and for the sake of future generations we've got to rise to this challenge and I believe that together we can and let's think about the vitality of this agenda this way the world has changed over a generation where our lives and especially the world of work are defined less and less by our physical capability and more and more by our mental ability and in the coming generation as we live through the march of the machines our lives will be increasingly defined by our emotional capabilities more than ever as the machines take on the cognitive tasks and so as our shift in our lives moves from the physical to the cognitive to the emotional so it's natural and right that we must shift our health care to care equally about the physical and the mental and the emotional and I say this very clearly there are some people who still find this agenda uncomfortable some still dismiss it as being somehow soft but I defy you to talk to anyone on the brink oh look at the rising numbers of people in need of help or live with the consequences of mental illness and not be moved by the scale of the task ahead so let us today at this summit come together and say yes some people find it hard to talk about mental illness and our task is to make it easier to break the taboo to help everyone to get the support that they need because it is good to talk now change is happening at the UN General Assembly last month we saw our first-ever standalone event on mental health hosted by Bahrain and Belgium and Canada Ecuador and the Netherlands and I'm very grateful to all those countries for the effort that they put together to making hunger a success the UK together with Australia and Canada has launched the Alliance but of champions for mental health and well-being and I'm delighted that some others in our ministerial meeting this morning including France have agreed to join this coming together of like-minded people committed to progress on mental health must lead to substantive and sustainable action around the world the UK has made tackling mental health a priority we're now spending record amounts of taxpayers money on mental health services nearly 12 billion pounds this year in England and we'd set ambitious plans to increase the NHS's mental health workforce by 21,000 and expand mental health provision to a million more people by 2021 we're making progress towards no division between mental health and physical health because that simply doesn't make sense that division not least because both are inextricably linked people with serious mental health problems and mental illnesses like major depression or schizophrenia have a forty to sixty percent greater chance of dying prematurely often due to physical conditions which go untreated like cancer and heart disease and diabetes we simply can't improve physical health without considering mental health too so I can announce today that we're putting a further 30 million pounds into the global mental health research through the UK's National Institute of Health Research and public health England is launching a new every mindmatters campaign which aims to increase the number of people taking steps to improve and manage their own mental health as they already do in increasing numbers with their physical health I've been moved by some of the stories that I've heard at this at this summit particularly from people's people whose conditions have become worse as a result of poor or inadequate services that they've received it's been extraordinary how though the country is represented here at this summit are diverse their needs different their starting points quite widespread the fundamental need and the centrality that people put on the need to support further mental health services to bring them towards parity with physical health services has been paramount and I think that all of those of us present at the ministerial breakfast would underline that point we have to ensure that whoever needs mental health support gets the support they need and that it's the best most up-to-date support that it possibly can be and we also need to change our view of people who need mental health services and consider people not just as patients or a medical problem to fix but to consider people as people less about simply the med medicinal and the pills and more about the prevention and looking after people as people and we must not forget or neglect the care for the carers too not just the doctors or nurses or health workers but those unpaid often unsung champions who are often doing extraordinary things to support those they love and we owe it to these extraordinary people to look out for them and look after them – as this summit has clearly shown what we learn in one field in one workplace in one country can be applied elsewhere we can and must keep learning from each other ultimately this is about changing the way we think about mental health and it's about changing attitudes and returning to Churchill as he himself said attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference I want to work with any nation with any partner who has a new idea and innovative solution and evidence of how to tackle this global and growing challenge I want us to keep an open mind because while we should treat mental health and physical health the same we know that treatment of mental health isn't the same and is not straightforward so let us work together on a global scale let us act decisively and let us act now thank you very much

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