Theresa May and her ministers now talk the talk. But government policies helped to fuel a problem they can no longer ignore

Front page articles on mental health have become a regular occurrence. This week we learned that Britain’s biggest police force received a phone call relating to mental health every five minutes last year. And James Munby, head of the high court’s family division, hit the headlines this month referring to the case of girl X – a suicidal teenager for whom no secure bed was available. Munby wrote: “If this is the best we can do for X, and others in similar crisis, what right do we, what right do the system, our society and indeed the state itself, have to call ourselves civilised?”

Related: Judge warns of 'blood on our hands' if suicidal girl is forced out of secure care

We cannot afford to ignore the well-established link between social inequality and mental ill health

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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".

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