Leading politicians have been silent about mental health for far too long, Labour leader Ed Miliband said today.
In a speech at the Royal College of Psychiatrists he said the issue of mental health was one of the "most serious challenges" the country faced as it undermined the welfare of the UK and affected the country's competitiveness.
He said: "That places a huge strain on our public services. And that costs our economy tens of billions of pounds a year.
"For far too long leading politicians from all parties, including my own, have maintained an almost complete silence about mental health. Only in emergencies and at the extreme end of conditions do we tend to talk about the issue."
Miliband highlighted that one in six people across Britain were affected by a mental illness and that mental illness has become far worse in the 21st century due to unequal societies, a long-hours culture and lack of social bonds.
He added: "There are still people who abuse the privilege of their celebrity to insult, demean and belittle others.
"Such as when Janet Street-Porter in a shocking article says that depression is "the latest must-have accessory" promoted by the "misery movement".
"And Jeremy Clarkson, who may have at least acknowledged the tragedy of people who end their own lives, goes on to call them "Johnny Suicides" whose bodies should be left on train tracks rather than delay journeys."
Miliband said understanding of the illness and research funding needed to increase to tackle to problem.
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