TROUBLED mental health patients should have access to psychological therapies within 28 days to combat the problems arising from doctors overprescribing drugs, James Morris MP demanded this week.

The Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP made the demand during a debate that he secured in Parliament on the importance of “talking therapies” in improving patients’ mental health.

Mr Morris, who is the chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health, told the debate in Parliament’s Westminster Hall mental health care had been dominated for too long by doctors relying on drug-based treatments.

To address the spiralling number of prescriptions being issued to treat mental health issues, he called for the NHS to make greater use of psychological and other therapy-based approaches that tackle underlying causes of severe anxiety and depression.

Mr Morris also raised the need for earlier intervention for children and young people to stop their problems becoming more serious as there were 850,000 children who are known to have mental health problems.

Mr Morris said: “Mental health is an extremely important issue, affecting thousands of people in Halesowen and Rowley Regis and millions of people around the country, and yet it has not been given anything like as much attention in the past as other medical conditions.

“Fortunately it is slowly working its way up the public agenda and the new Health and Social Care Act promises parity of esteem between physical and mental health.”

He added: “Now that the needs of mental health are finally being taken seriously, we need to make sure that treatment and care within the NHS are effective and suited to individual people’s problems, instead of automatically prescribing anti-psychotic drugs.”