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Mental health spending is 'far too low'

Mental health spending is 'far too low'
28th October 2014

Local authorities spend as little as 1.36 per cent of their public health budget on mental health, according to new research.

The charity Mind undertook this study and discovered that despite huge sums of money being spent on tackling physical health conditions, in its opinion the financial support afforded to mental issues is "unacceptably low".

This data was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and showed how mental health spending was classified under Miscellaneous in the budget. In addition, it transpired that some authorities do not plan on putting any money towards preventing such conditions this year.

Mind also discovered how there was widespread confusion about how local public health teams should combat such conditions, while some did not know it was their duty to help prevent these issues.

Despite the lack of money being spent on mental health issues, they cost the UK approximately £100 billion every year, while they also make up almost one-quarter (23 per cent) of the total burden of disease. 

In light of these findings, the charity wants the next government to implement a nationwide strategy and to call upon public health teams to reconsider how they use the money available to them to help reduce the burden of such conditions. 

Chief executive of Mind Paul Farmer said: “Just like physical health, we all have mental health. Mind’s findings show, however, that while local authorities are happy to spend on preventing physical health problems, their equivalent spending on mental health is unacceptably low. 

"As a society we must start looking at what we can do to help prevent people from developing mental health problems in the first place."

While local authorities spend as much as £671 million on sexual health initiatives and £160 million on encouraging individuals to stop smoking every year, less than £40 million is currently put towards tackling mental health.

Read about support and personalised care at Barchester care homes for anyone with mental health concerns