Opposition to give mental health 5bn kronor boost

The conservative alliance have announced a ten point plan for mental health care, including a five billion kronor cash injection over ten years. The conservative programme is presented in an opinion piece in Dagens Nyheter.

Proposals also include extending the so-called health guarantee to include child and adolescent mental health services. Psychiatric patients would also share medical patients’ right to a diagnosis within three months.

“The government has failed mental health and the consequences are here for all to see. What’s important now is that we make mental health a priority,” said Kenneth Johansson, the Centre party’s representative on the alliance’s welfare committee.

The conservatives regard the number of serious crimes committed by psychiatric patients in recent years as a particular problem and are looking to tighten laws on forcibly admitting people with severe mental illnesses. For example, Kenneth Johansson wants it to be made easier to manage people with substance abuse problems as well as a psychiatric illness.

Other proposals include providing help for patients after discharge with medication and symptom control and a guarantee to the homeless of a roof over their head.

Health minister, Ylva Johansson, has responded positively to a number of the suggestions:

“They’re in line with what we’ve already proposed or are already working on,” she said. “The demand, however, to provide a diagnosis is dubious. The reason why a diagnosis isn’t always made at the moment is that it’s difficult. If we politicians start demanding diagnoses, the risk is that they’ll be wrong.”

Anders Milton, the government’s chief mental health advisor, also welcomed the conservatives’ initiative:

“It’s good that there seems to be a general agreement that mental health services need to be improved. And there’s a lot of common ground between the government’s position on these issues and that of the conservative alliance.”