Steve Brine opened the inaugural Global Mental Health Ministerial Summit in London this, supported by the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge.
The event, which brought Ministers from over 40 countries together with policy officials and nearly 300 delegates, provided the platform for the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health to launch their landmark report on the issue.
Mr Brine was opening the event in his role as Public Health Minister, and he told the summit how the Prime Minister has made improving mental health a priority, so when this government embarked on this project it was with a real sense of purpose, with an honest and realistic appraisal of where we are and what more we need to do.
He stressed that the mental health challenge is a growing global challenge particularly among young people, and that improving mental health - making sure it is treated as seriously a physical health - is a defining challenge of our age, and a challenge for the whole world.
The summit also heard from one of the UK’s leading economists, Lord Richard Layard, who identified some crucial distinguishing features about mental health conditions, including the fact that mental health predominantly effects working age individuals, adding an “economic imperative” to the work around improving mental health care and prevention. This means that the time and the money we put in pays for itself in the long run.
Steve said: “This Summit is a bold experiment to bring together the mental health sector with political leaders so we lift the lid on mental health. For us to really make advances, all people in all countries need to be open and transparent about the road ahead and we need to talk to one another.”