MPs get mental health clinic after rise in cases of depression and anxiety

Officials have approved £25,000-a-year funding for the specialist treatment centre

Oliver Wright
Wednesday 13 February 2013 20:08
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MPs will be able to access a mental health clinic within Parliament which is being set up to deal with the rising number of politicians approaching doctors about depression and anxiety.

Officials have approved £25,000-a-year funding for the specialist treatment centre which will run alongside conventional GP services.

MPs say the stigma still attached to mental illness means it is hard for them to approach their family doctors about such problems.

Doctors in the House of Commons have seen an increase in number of MPs coming to them with mental health difficulties, a sign they are more willing to admit to problems which were previously repressed.

On Monday Parliament gave final approval to the Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill, which scraps a law that says MPs automatically lose their seats if they have been sectioned for more than six months, as well as a rule allowing company directors to be removed because of mental illness.

However, MPs say discrimination against mental illness means it is much harder for them to talk to local GPs about such problems that it would be for physical ailments.

The body which oversees MPs’ working conditions has therefore agreed to fund treatment such as cognitive behavioural therapy from specialists at St Thomas’s hospital.

A consultant psychiatrist is available at Westminster to diagnose mental health problems and referral for in-patient treatment will also be available, the Commons Members’ Estimate Committee decided.

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