Mel Stride Slammed For Saying Concern About Mental Health Has 'Gone Too Far'

Work and pensions secretary warned he risks increasing the stigma around mental health.
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Work and pensions secretary Mel Stride has said concern about people’s mental health may have “gone too far”.

His comments were immediately criticised for risking “increasing the stigma” around mental health.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Stride said some people were mistaking the “normal anxieties of life” for having a “serious mental health condition”.

He said: “As a culture, we seem to have forgotten that work is good for mental health”.

“While I’m grateful for today’s much more open approach to mental health, there is a danger that this has gone too far.”

“There is a real risk now that we are labelling the normal ups and downs of human life as medical conditions which then actually serve to hold people back and, ultimately, drive up the benefit bill.”

The cabinet minister added: “We’ve maybe lost a sense of what work has been about in the past”.

Sarah Hughes, the chief executive of mental health charity Mind, said: “The comments made by the work and pensions secretary are concerning and risk increasing the stigma around mental health.

“Politicians and commentators need to consider the impact of their words on people who face exceptionally difficult circumstances.

“While latest figures from the DWP do show an increase in the number of people unable to work due to mental health problems, the answer is not to force them into employment regardless.

“People need to be offered tailored support from experts if they are to return to work, not threats of losing what little money they currently have to live on.

“That support just isn’t there – with 1.9 million people on waiting lists for NHS mental health services it is clear that the focus should be on improving the system.”

Alison McGovern, Labour’s shadow work and pensions minister, also hit out at the comments.

“If I’m honest, I’m at a loss as to what Mel Stride is talking about,” she told GB News.

“The only thing that has gone too far is the Conservative government that has had 14-years to sort out our mental health support.”


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