CAROLINE DINENAGE: Funding will transform our approach to mental health
For too long mental health care in this country has been neglected.
Changing this is essential to improve our nation’s wellbeing and ensure we live in a country where everyone feels supported.
Last March I welcomed NHS England’s five-year plan for mental health care which, for the first time ever, declared true equality between mental and physical health.
Following on from this, and building upon the £11.7bn investment in mental health services over the last parliament, the government committed an additional £600m to ensure access to talking therapies, perinatal mental health services and crisis care.
A whole-of-society approach to promoting wellbeing is essential for shifting people’s attitudes, encouraging those who are suffering to seek help, and preventing mental illnesses from developing in the first place.
I am delighted, therefore, that the prime minister has announced a set of new measures to transform our approach to mental health in our workplaces, classrooms and communities.
Every school across the country will be offered mental health first aid training to increase awareness around mental health and help to tackle the unacceptable stigma around the issue.
The government will review children and adolescent mental health services in the Solent region to identify what is working and what can be improved.
Similarly, there will be a national expert review into how mental wellbeing can be improved in the workplace.
The prime minister also announced further alternatives to hospital treatments. Digital mental health services will be expanded so those worried about stress, anxiety or more serious issues can go online, check their symptoms and access digital therapy immediately.
Despite known links between debt and mental health, currently hundreds of mental health patients are charged up to £300 by their GP for a form to prove they have mental health issues.
It is important that the prime minister has announced a formal review of the mental health debt form.
The Solent region has a large armed forces community, some of whom may suffer from psychological injuries as a result of brave service.
These new proposals are a massive step in the right direction to ensuring people with mental illness receive the compassion, care and the treatment they deserve.
As a nation, it is right that we strive to improve mental wellbeing and ensure that everyone is supported.