Would you like to be part of creating a happier and more caring society? If so please join our movement, add your pledge and take action - at home, at school, at work or in your community. Together we can make a difference

I will try to create more happiness and less unhappiness in the world around me



news rss feed rss logo

Britain needs a cabinet minister for mental health

05 Mar 2012 | Richard Layard

* Lord Layard calls for mental health to be given much greater priority

Mental health should be the sixth pillar of the welfare state, Professor Lord Richard Layard will argue in a public lecture tomorrow evening, Tuesday 6 March 2012. Delivering the final Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) 21st birthday lecture at the LSE, he will say that:

"Mental health lies at the root of so many of our social problems and yet it is shockingly neglected by our policy-makers. This will only change if there is a minister for mental health within the cabinet."

Lord Layard will note that mental illness accounts for a half of all the illness experienced by people under 65. It is responsible for a half of all days off sick and for a half of all disabled people on incapacity benefit. And unless treated, it is regularly passed on from generation to generation.

But there are excellent treatments out there, which would in many cases cost nothing because of the resulting savings in social expenditure. Yet only a quarter of people with mental illness get treatment - compared with at least 90% for people with most physical diseases.

This shocking difference is mainly because the facilities are not there and NICE-recommended treatment cannot be provided. Only 15% of NHS expenditure is on mental illness. It is by common consent the Cinderella of the NHS.

Lord Layard will conclude:

"One reason why we are no happier than we were in the 1950s is that despite huge advances in education, health and living standards, we have neglected the deep personal problems that hold so many people back.

"This situation will not be altered without a radical change that reflects the importance of mental health in our national life. It requires a separate cabinet minister for mental health and social care within the Department of Health."


Notes for editors

The lecture - Mental Health: The New Frontier for the Welfare State - will be given at the LSE at 6.30pm on Tuesday 6 March in the Sheikh Zayed Theatre and is open to the public.

Lord Layard is director of the Wellbeing programme at the LSE's Centre for Economic Performance. He is an economist and a Labour peer. He is also co-founder of Action for Happiness.

For further information contact Harriet Ogborn.


Action for Happiness


  • Mindful eating tips: slow down, sit at the table, turn TV off, focus on taste, put your fork down between bites, chew…

    yesterday 11:28am

  • Be kind. Even on your bad days https://t.co/GBT6EtwDB3

    yesterday 11:27am

  • Mindful eating tips: slow down, sit at the table, turn TV off, focus on taste, put your fork down between bites, ch… https://t.co/E2yU0gG4iT

    yesterday 2:58am

  • For a happier life, focus more on the things that really matter - the people you love and the causes you care about https://t.co/yfi7obRegZ

    friday 28 apr 11:02am

  • Do less with more focus https://t.co/TscQQnvJP8

    friday 28 apr 10:54am

  • Mind full or mindful? To help clear your mind - and bring clean water to others - join the Mindful in May challeng… https://t.co/BwdBsCOy8y

    friday 28 apr 10:03am

  • @PeaceButton: pls see our 5 min Mindfulness film w/200+ school kids #childrenshappiness https://t.co/G3ZwAsteAb https:/…

    friday 28 apr 9:41am

  • @AllPointConsult: EXPLORING WHAT MATTERS - course to find and explore a happy/meaningful life https://t.co/dZT4QtKnCR https://t.co/PHIfX…

    friday 28 apr 9:41am

  • Take a break: stop, calm down and recognise that everything you need to be happy is already present in this moment https://t.co/v0Hn7Le4z1

    friday 28 apr 3:55am

  • "I don't think of all the misery, but of the beauty that remains" ~ Anne Frank https://t.co/zIRjZVsED0

    thursday 27 apr 10:12am

follow us on twitter