HC Deb 10 November 1997 vol 300 cc434-5W
Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the secretary of State for Health what measures he is taking to protect mentally ill patients from harassment and intimidation in their communities. [14563]

Mr. Boateng

The appropriate statutory authorities have a responsibility to ensure that mentally ill patients are cared for in the community in a safe and therapeutic environment. Clearly, mental health services need to proceed with sensitivity and adopt an informative, open approach in handling their plans for community developments. However, we recognise that the stigmatisation of mental illness is a serious problem. We therefore attach great importance to the need to increase knowledge and understanding about mental health among the general public, thereby promoting a positive image of mental health and combatting stigma. Through our Impact Mental Illness Public Information Strategy, we are working closely with the voluntary sector, the media and other groups to take forward such work.