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Mental health services to receive extra £5bn by 2021

Chief executive admits that mental health has historically been the NHS’s ‘poor relation’

16 February 2016

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The NHS has pledged to invest ‘more than a billion pounds a year by 2020/21’ on mental health services, following the recommendations from an independent study conducted by the mental health charity, Mind.

It finds that ‘mental health services have been underfunded for decades’, which has led to thousands of lives [being] put on hold or ruined, and thousands of tragic and unnecessary deaths’.

The report delivered by the taskforce, ‘The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health’ calls for a ‘fresh mind set’ to tackle mental health and puts forward a three-fold approach.

It suggests establishing a 7-day crisis response service across the NHS, an ‘integrated mental and physical health approach’, as well as increasing the level of preventative care available and promoting good mental health.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, has stressed the need to prevent mental health and in cases where it develops, to treat it as soon as possible.

‘We are saying to the NHS, to government, to industry, to local leaders and to the public that mental health must be a priority for everyone in England.’

‘We need to prevent problems in the first place, and to respond to people’s mental health problems at the earliest possible opportunity. As part of this, the NHS can and should be a world leader in care which treats people’s minds and bodies equally well.’  

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said the National Health Service fully accepts the findings of the report and is committed to implementing its recommendations.

‘One in four of us will suffer from depression, anxiety or other mental health problems, but mental health services have historically been the 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.’

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