James MorrisMP (Halesowen & Rowley Regis)(Con): I would like to welcome you to the APPG on Mental H
ealth and the launch of our inquiry into parity of esteem. This is the first of three sessions, each focusing on a different theme. Today we are looking at the premature mortality of people with mental health problems.

We’re delighted to have had such a strong response to our call for evidence; we have had over 200 responses, so there is a good rich evidence base to inform the inquiry. There are also a range of different organisations here today. I will now hand over to Norman Lamb, Minister for Care Services.

The Minister of State for Care and Support, Department of Health (Mr Norman Lamb): Thank you James. I am very pleased you are doing this inquiry as I have a passion for this. Traditionally mental health services get the raw end of the deal. They are not treated on a par with physical health. I am of the view also that failures of parity of esteem need to be challenged and confronted everywhere – wherever they happen – whether that’s in the
Department of Health, NHS England, or at a local level including in local decision making about finances. I will first give my presentation and then respond to questions.

More than 30,000 people with mental health problems die prematurely every year. The premature mortality death rate is four times higher among people with severe mental illness. It’s astonishing that there’s a premature mortality
gap for men of 20 years, and 15 years for women.

It’s a combination of poor lifestyle, higher rates of unnatural deaths, poor physical health, and risks of socio-economic disadvantage that all contributeto this scandal of premature mortality.This contravenes international conventions for rights to health and life.

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