I was struck by a sense of de ja vu when reading the news story, Widening gap is blow to public health policy (page 6, 2 December). The link between poverty and mental ill-health is well documented. Demographic data abounds.

The desirability of more staff, improved services and greater accountability of the various agencies cannot be overemphasised. It is encouraging to see government initiatives to support and encourage service improvement in child health and social welfare.

W e, the helping professions and organisations, need to find innovative ways of addressing poverty as part of our intervention programmes. Time was when poverty was a matter for politicians. As it is at the core of most of the problems we are charged with resolving, it would seem futile to attempt to rectify problems of mental ill-health without any reference to poverty.

Thembi Sibisi Consultant clinical psychologist South Birmingham Psychology Service