Theresa May vows to tackle the ‘huge stigma’ around poor mental health as part of her ‘shared society’ vision – and No 10 says it’s NOT the same as David Cameron’s ‘big society’

Theresa May has vowed to tackle the ‘huge stigma’ surrounding mental health as she set out to build a ‘shared society’.

The Prime Minister will tomorrow unveil the heart of her domestic policy agenda which she said was about helping everyone in the country overcome ‘burning injustices’ they face.

The Government will intervene to set right issues where it can take action, Mrs May said and move beyond helping only the poorest or the most able to rise up the social ladder.

Theresa May, pictured on today's Sophy Ridge on Sunday, has vowed to tackle the 'huge stigma' surrounding mental health as she set out to build a 'shared society'

Theresa May, pictured on today’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, has vowed to tackle the ‘huge stigma’ surrounding mental health as she set out to build a ‘shared society’

The Prime Minister will tomorrow unveil the heart of her domestic policy agenda which she said was about helping everyone in the country overcome 'burning injustices' they face

The Prime Minister will tomorrow unveil the heart of her domestic policy agenda which she said was about helping everyone in the country overcome ‘burning injustices’ they face.

The Prime Minister has left herself open to the charge her plans are the same as those of predecessor David Cameron, who spent years promoting his vision of a ‘big society’ without winning over the public.

Mrs May will make a major speech on her agenda tomorrow and previewed her plans today on Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday.

Extra help for people suffering from mental health problems will be the first detailed policy pledge revealed by Mrs May.

She told Ridge: ‘I was talking to somebody earlier today and they were making the point that in the workplace, if you break your arm and you go in with your arm in plaster or in a sling, people will come up and talk to you about it.

‘If you have a mental health problem people are more likely to try to avoid you.

‘We must get over the stigma, we must ensure that we are providing the services for people with mental health.’

It bears a striking similarity to David Cameron's Big Society campaign unveiled in 2009, however Downing Street has insisted the Shared Society is a significant development of social policies pursued by Mr Cameron

It bears a striking similarity to David Cameron’s Big Society campaign unveiled in 2009, however Downing Street has insisted the Shared Society is a significant development of social policies pursued by Mr Cameron

An extra £1 billion has been provided to the NHS for mental health services, but Mrs May said she wanted to tackle the problem in a wider sense.

‘It’s not a five-minute job, we can’t deal with these issues just overnight, it’s not about one speech, it is about driving reform forward over a period of time and being honest with the public that this does take time to deal with,’ she said.

Mrs May added: ‘Money is going into mental health. But it is always wrong for people to assume that the only answer to these issues is about funding.

‘Yes there are some issues there and we have been looking at those and addressing those.

Downing Street insists Mrs May's Shared Society is a significant development of social policies pursued by Mr Cameron and Margaret Thatcher

Downing Street insists Mrs May’s Shared Society is a significant development of social policies pursued by Mr Cameron and Margaret Thatcher

‘But actually if you look at the issue of mental health in this country, I think it is more about the stigma that still attaches to mental health, it is about how we recognise one-in-four of us will suffer from some mental health issue through their lives.’

Addressing her wider ‘shared society’ agenda, Mrs May said: ‘What is important is that we recognise that this is about dealing with everyday injustices, but it is also about us recognising our obligations as citizens within the communities and society that we have here in the UK.

‘It’s about recognising that there is a role for government but government needs to ensure that it is acting as effectively as possible in those areas where it should be taking action.’

One issue where the state could act was to address the ‘huge stigma’ still attached to mental health.

Downing Street insists Mrs May’s Shared Society is a significant development of social policies pursued by Mr Cameron and Margaret Thatcher, who sparked controversy by declaring there was ‘no such thing as society’.

A senior Whitehall source said: ‘Thatcher didn’t believe in society; Cameron wanted the Big Society to replace the state; we believe there is a role for government, but it must be shared with the public.

‘People must help themselves but the Government must provide better schools, homes and hospitals for people above the welfare line – and this Government will.’

Labour campaign chief Jon Trickett (file image) said the Prime Minster was offering no more than an 'empty slogan' 

Labour campaign chief Jon Trickett (file image) said the Prime Minster was offering no more than an ’empty slogan’

Mrs May will say in her speech tomorrow: ‘The Shared Society doesn’t just value individual rights but focuses on responsibilities we have to one another.

‘It respects the bonds we share as people, the bonds of family, community, citizenship.

‘A society that recognises the obligations we have as citizens that make our society work.’

Mr Cameron said of his Big Society in 2009: ‘Kindness, generosity and imagination have been squeezed out by the state, which has promoted selfishness and individualism. People must take responsibility for their own communities.’

Labour’s national campaign coordinator Jon Trickett said: ‘Six failed years of the Tories have given us a crisis in the NHS, economic failure and working people worse off, and Theresa May clearly has no idea what to do about it. The only thing she offers is an empty slogan.

‘With the NHS in crisis, we need a plan to fix it and give it the funding it needs – but this morning a complacent Theresa May wouldn’t even recognise there’s an issue.

‘She offered warm words about a ‘fair deal’ but hasn’t a clue what that means, running a government which has seen working people worse off.

‘Tory failure means Britain is worse off and Theresa May offers no solutions.’

[Source:-Daily Mail]

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