Thursday, October 21

United We can obtain broad endorsement from Congress to initiate the processing of the first mental health law

United We can this Tuesday to launch the processing in the Congress of Deputies of its proposal for a mental health law, the first of its kind in Spain, with broad parliamentary support. The proposal has finally been accepted by its partner in the Government, the PSOE, which initially had shown reluctance to be preparing a national strategy, and not a law, to which the president of the Executive, Pedro Sánchez, committed himself in the Chamber Come down.

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The confederal group has also achieved that the proposal is admitted for processing with the additional support of ERC, Ciudadanos, EH Bildu and Más País, and with the only votes against PNV -mainly due to a competence issue- and Vox. The PP, which has considered the regulation unnecessary when considering that a national strategy was better, has decided to abstain, assuring that it does not agree “in the form, but in substance”: the need to promote public policies that address the growing problem of mental health, exacerbated by the pandemic.

The person in charge of defending the initiative has been the spokesman for United We Can in Congress, Pablo Echenique, who has considered that mental health is “a matter of State” since despite the important effect on citizenship “the deployment of public resources “to face it” is conspicuous by its absence “since” public institutions have not been up to the task. ” Echenique recalled that the ratios of mental health professionals in European countries are three times higher than those in Spain and he celebrated that the registered proposal includes a “firm commitment to increase the ratios”.

In addition, he recalled that the text includes “obligations to fight against stigma and discrimination” of people suffering from mental illnesses, incorporates “suicide prevention” plans and lists a series of rights for people with mental health problems. He also recalled the economic causes of the increase in mental illnesses, in a context in which inequalities and the precariousness of workers have increased.

Criticism for the lack of unity of the partners

From the PSOE, the deputy Carmen Andrés has agreed to address the mental health crisis by taking into consideration the proposed law of United We Can, has recalled the “commitment” of Pedro Sánchez to it and has attacked the PP because when the ‘popular’ were in Moncloa “mental health was in limbo.”

Rosa Romero, the spokesperson for Casado’s party, has nevertheless remarked that in her opinion “the best mental health law is the Budget law,” and has criticized the fact that one of the partners – in this case United We Can – is the one who present the law and is not a joint regulation of the Government.

The forces of the pro-independence left have wanted to emphasize the “structural factors” in society that have aggravated the mental health problem. Iñaki Ruiz de Pinedo, from EH Bildu, has highlighted the “pressure of individualism and neoliberalism”, Albert Botran, from the CUP, has assured that mental disorders are “social ailments” and Francesc Eritja, from ERC, who has highlighted that the COVID has worsened the scenario, it has trusted that during the parliamentary process the competence framework will be addressed to respect the autonomy of the governments of the communities and that sufficient funding is established to allow the development of the regulations.

It is precisely this competency clash that has promoted the PNV’s ‘no’, which has recalled that the human resources of health systems are the responsibility of the communities and has also considered that a specific law on mental health can be “stigmatizing” with respect to other pathologies . Josune Gorospe, the Basque nationalist deputy who has intervened during the plenary session, has advocated for a comprehensive mental health plan instead of a law.

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