The deputy Prime Minister visited a new St Albans mental health unit to launch a new approach to mental health treatment and research in the UK.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg was filmed by the BBC as he toured the Kingsley Green Kingfisher House complex on the site of the former Harperbury Hospital.  

He was accompanied by Liberal Democrat candidate for St Albans Sandy Walkington and by Liberal Democrat Mayor of Watford Dorothy Thornhill.  

The footage was then used in a piece on mental health on the BBC news.

Nick Clegg said: "Mental health issues have been treated as a sort of Cinderella service compared to physical health issues.  I want people who are dealing with depression to be as effectively treated as if they had diabetes.

"I want to see Britain become the world leader in the next breakthrough in mental health research just as we have always been a country that is a world leader in research into physical health."

The Liberal Democrats said they will put into their manifesto a commitment to a mental health research fund worth £50m per year to help bridge the gap between physical health and mental health treatment.

Sandy Walkington said: "Liberal Democrats in government have already put the NHS under a legal obligation to provide parity of treatment for mental health patients, and I am delighted to have been present at this new announcement.

"It was also fantastic to see St Albans already at the cutting edge of mental health treatment with the magnificent new Kingfisher Court facility run by Hertfordshire Partnership Trust at the Kingsley Green site."   

Labour’s parliamentary candidate for St Albans Kerry Pollard reacted to the recent visit, highlighting cuts to mental health spending under the current government.

He said: “The new unit at the former Harperbury Hospital which has been in the pipeline for many years is a welcome addition to local mental health care.

“However, Nick Clegg and Sandy Walkington are taking the people of St Albans for fools if they think they can turn up to cut some ribbon and everyone will forget their shocking record on mental health.

“For the first time in a decade we have seen a cut in total spending on mental health: a reduction of £150million mental health services have been slashed under their government and patients are suffering. 

“The British Medical Association says patients being put at risk by significant cuts.

“Eight in ten GPs now believe that their local mental health teams cannot cope with caseloads. Under the Tories and the Lib Dems the number of mental health beds has decreased by nine per cent in three years. Community teams are forced to manage ever more unwell patients at home with dwindling resources.

“Herts Valleys CCG, set up by the Tories and Lib Dems to provide local health services spends just 11 per cent of its annual budget on Mental Health. Labour would re-write the NHS constitution to guarantee patients to the right to key Mental Health therapies.”