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New investment to bolster mental health revolution

New investment to bolster mental health revolution
15th January 2016

Prime minister David Cameron is expected to make a speech detailing nearly £1 billion of investment for mental health care and how this will improve treatment.

As part of the new changes, there will be specialised care for new mums and targets for teenagers with eating disorders will be introduced for the first time. 

Mr Cameron hopes this additional investment will help change the conversation about mental health and make the subject less taboo for families.

In his speech, he will announce that £290 million will be channelled into helping to support expectant mothers before and after their baby is born, while nearly £250 million will be given to bolster mental health services in hospital emergency departments.

It is estimated that a fifth of all new mums develop a mental health problem around the time they give birth, and 30,000 will need to access specialist services. The £290 million investment between now and 2020 will mean that at least 30,000 additional women will be able to get this tailored support.

Those with mental health problems are three times more likely to visit A&E, but not every hospital has the necessary facilities to care for them. The investment will mean that specialist staff can be there to ensure they get the support they need and refer them to the right place should it be necessary.

Further to this, more than £400 million will be invested to introduce 24/7 mental health treatment in communities, making them a safe and effective alternative to hospital.

These plans have been recommended by NHS England’s independent mental health taskforce, which is chaired by the chief executive of charity Mind, and includes other experts in the area. 

Created to keep mental health a priority over the next five years, the taskforce is expected to publish a report with a clear strategy for this period in the next few weeks, as well as announcing further investment.

The funding announcements by the prime minister are in addition to the £150 million already assigned to treating young people with eating disorders and £1.25 billion for perinatal, and children and young people’s mental health.

New services will be introduced as part of the latest funding announcement to help teenagers suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, meaning they will get help much quicker. From 2017/2018, waiting targets will be enforced, aiming to get all patients seen within a month of being referred or within a week if their case is urgent.

With a quarter of people expected to suffer from depression or anxiety this year alone, it is hoped the investment will help improve treatment and prevention in mental health.

In addition, suicide is now the leading cause of death for men under the age of 50 and Mr Cameron will call for a "frank and open discussion" on how to tackle this problem.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind and independent chair of NHS England’s Taskforce on Mental Health, said: "This is a significant moment for mental health and we are pleased to see the prime minister giving it the attention it deserves."