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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 14 August 2008
This is a national problem

• YOUR correspondents (Far too many holes in the mental health service net, August 7) are quite right to decry the state of mental health services – but this is a national problem.
One in four Britons suffers from a mental illness at some point in their lives. One in six is suffering at any given time. In just one decade, the number of children in England prescribed anti-depressants has quadrupled, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Yet, presiding over this crisis, the government has failed to act. Their target-driven mentality means that funding has been diverted away from mental health services, and the ever-decreasing funds for mental health services are directed
into acute services which serve only 2 per cent of mental health patients.
In February this year, the Liberal Democrats revealed that the average waiting time for those waiting longest for mental health treatment is over seven months, with some people waiting over three years for treatment such as psychotherapy and counselling.
In response, Nick Clegg launched Lib Dem plans for a people’s health service, guaranteeing people suffering from mental health problems a first appointment for treatment within 13 weeks of referral.
For more information on these proposals, see health
Lib Dem, Cantelowes ward

Costs of governors

THE Recovery Model celebration at Mary Ward House on July 3 was lavish and Councillor Kirsty Roberts, the mental health champion, was much in evidence. 
It is arguable that Cllr Roberts should be attending these events as part of her councillor duties, for which she is well remunerated by the council, rather than receiving an additional salary from the Camden & Islington Foundation Trust. 
Her colleague, Councillor James King, also showed his interest in helping vulnerable people by accepting a seat on the trust’s board of directors for a similar amount.
Five months after becoming a foundation trust, I noticed in their second governors’ meeting on July 17
that the trust has yet to find just two Camden councillors willing to become governors, who unfortunately do not get any pay at all. 
By contrast Islington had no trouble in finding councillors genuinely interested in mental healthcare to sit on the board of governors. 
They only meet four times a year by the way. Perhaps there is no point in having the governors?
Could it be that Camden councillors don’t want to become governors because there’s no money it?  Surely councillors Roberts and King would want to step in to fill this void? 
Perhaps they are too busy endorsing the foundation trust’s large programme of service cuts which it says are essential to save money. 
After all, if they didn’t cut services, they might not be able to pay Kirsty Roberts and others and host such wonderful corporate events. 
If there are any Camden councillors or NHS managers left who still believe in public service, let them please stand up.  
Crowndale Road, NW1

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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