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World Mental Health Day - 10th October 2009

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Joined: 09/03/2008

 To find out more about World Mental Health Day see<

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Cuts may be inevitable, says Tony Russell, a user of mental health< services and founder of the campaigning group Breakthrough – but the danger is that they will be made in all the wrong places. In the NHS<, unfashionable services such as mental health will be first in the firing line, he fears. "I have no problem with cuts, but they should not be at the expense of vital services.

"In times of financial crisis, people get depressed, ill and stressed. Demand is rising, and mental health services are under pressure. If the nation isn't healthy, then everything else is irrelevant," Russell says.

"Make cuts, but make them in expensive IT and communications departments, and stop wasting money on fancy brochures promoting foundation trusts. Why do we pay for these massive quangos that don't do anything? Let's cut defence spending, and pull our troops out of Afghanistan."

Investment has to be focused on the health frontline, Russell argues. He pays tribute to "brilliant" clinicians and dedicated local NHS trust chief executives, but is sceptical about the value of the upper tiers of the NHS and civil service.

He says: "I sometimes think we have lions led by donkeys in the NHS – too many decisions made by too many people who know nothing about the reality of mental health."<