A new £1 billion initiative to transform mental health treatment in England has been announced by Prime Minister David Cameron. The new plans are part of a massive drive to help tens of thousands of people living with mental health conditions find or return to work.
The Prime Minister says that action will be taken across government, the NHS and private companies to support the estimated three in every five people with mental health conditions who are unable to work. Using evidence which has shown employment to be a crucial part of treatment, they will aim to improve early access to care and help people find or return to work.
The extra £1 billion will be used to support one million more people with mental health problems access high quality care they are not getting today. It is an important step towards delivering the government’s commitment to put mental and physical health on an equal footing.
The new approach is based on recommendations from the Mental Health Taskforce, an independent, expert panel which set out a comprehensive plan to tackle mental health problems which affect millions of people in England and accounts for a quarter of all ill health – higher than heart diseases, cancer and diabetes.
Access to talking therapies for people suffering from conditions like anxiety and depression will almost be doubled, so that 800,000 get the support they need with help from £308 million of investment.
£50 million will be spent on doubling the reach of programmes finding work for people with mental illness and another £50 million will be used to more than double the number of employment advisors, so that they are linked in to every talking therapy service in the country.
Making sure mental health gets the attention in the NHS it needs
The Prime Minister said: “Mental health is a major problem in our country and it must be properly addressed. By providing this extra £1 billion a year for mental health care, we will make sure it gets the attention in the NHS it needs.
“But I want to go even further and end the status quo that sees more than half of people with mental health conditions unable to find a job – ensuring tens of thousands are able to find or return to work over the next five years.”
Putting mental health and physical health on an equal footing
Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “One in four of us will suffer from depression, anxiety or other mental health problems, but mental health services have historically been NHS’ poor relation.
"Putting mental and physical health on an equal footing will require major improvements in seven-day mental health crisis care, a large increase in psychological treatments, and a more integrated approach to how services are delivered. That’s what today’s taskforce calls for, and it’s what the NHS is now committed to pursuing.”
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Source: Prime Minister's Office press release: PM: Improve mental health treatment to get thousands more back to work