The Deputy Prime Minister pledged to raise mental health research spending by £50million by 2020 on a visit to a mental health centre.

Nick Clegg visited Kingfisher Court, at the Kingsley Green site near Radlett on Friday, and had looked around the new unit which opened in June and cost £42million.

The Liberal Democrat leader also met some of the staff who work there, along with some of the service users staying at the unit.

He said: “My ambition is that we should understand mental health just as well as we understand physical health. I want us to be able to talk about, analyse and treat depression just as we treat diabetes. For far too long mental health has been a bit of a taboo subject – yet it affects one in four people in this country.”

Currently, mental health accounts for 23 per cent of conditions in the UK, but receives only six per cent of all medical research funding.

Dr Oliver Shanley, deputy chief executive of the Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust, said: “We were very proud to show Mr Clegg around Kingfisher Court, where he was able to see for himself the good work our staff are doing to improve the lives of our service users.

“His pledge to increase research spending into mental health would definitely be a step in the right direction in terms of making mental health a priority in this country, which will only improve the lives of those dealing with mental health problems every day.”