Government must continue to invest in mental health services during coronavirus crisis - Welby

Published 19 May 2020  |  
Welby

The Archbishop of Canterbury has called on the Government to continue investing in mental health services despite the economic challenges triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Office for Budget Responsibility has suggested that the final bill for the crisis could be as high as £298bn.

Speaking to the BBC, the Most Rev Justin Welby said that ministers needed to be "brave and courageous" as he urged them not to make drastic cuts.

"Going for austerity again would be the most terrible mistake," he said.

He went on to call on ministers to invest in mental health services and establish a royal commission on social care.

"Borrowing costs are the lowest they've ever been in our entire history. Spending money on mental health will have a positive rate of return," he said.

He continued: "Just because we're in the middle of a crisis, it doesn't mean that we can't have a vision for a future where justice and righteousness are the key stones of our common life.

The Archbishop, who has in the past spoken openly about his own experience of depression, encouraged people to speak to someone if they are struggling.

"There is nothing pathetic about it. It is no more pathetic than being ill in any other way. And we just need to get over that," he said.

Speaking about the "trauma" of a recession, loss and grief, the Archbishop said it was not possible to get through these experiences "just with the stiff upper lip".

He added that the country could not come through the coronavirus crisis with austerity but by investing in the common good.

"We don't do it with austerity. We don't do it with class fighting," he said.

"We do it with community and the common good. And we're not afraid of spending money that will produce a better society."

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