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Prime Minister pledges “a revolution” in NHS mental health treatment with new investment

The Prime Minister has announced plans for significant investment in NHS mental health and is calling it a “revolution” in care.

It includes £290m for perinatal care, £247m in liaison mental health services in A&E and expanded services to help teenagers with eating disorders.

It follows recommendations by NHS England’s independent mental health taskforce – chaired by Mind CEO Paul Farmer and set up as part of the Five Year Forward View. The taskforce is proposing a 5-year NHS mental health strategy.

With rising mental health problems, the Prime Minister said it was time to stop sweeping issues under the carpet and engage in an open discussion on how to tackle the issues.

The plans include:

  • £290 million of new investment over the next 5 years to provide mental healthcare for new mothers.
  • £247 million to invest in liaison mental health services in emergency departments.
  • over £400 million to enable 24/7 treatment in communities as a safe and effective alternative to hospital.
  • expanded services to help teenagers with eating disorders – as anorexia kills more than any other mental health condition

One in 5 new mothers develop a mental health problem around the time of the birth of their child and some 30,000 more women need specialist services. If untreated this can turn into a lifelong illness, proven to increase the likelihood of poor outcomes to the mother or new baby.

People with mental health problems are 3 times more likely to turn up at A&E than those without. Yet not every hospital in the country has the liaison mental health services required to support them.

Eating disorders are most likely to affect those aged between 14 and 25 and, if they go untreated for more than 3 to 5 years, the chances of recovery are greatly reduced, while incidents of self-harm increase.

It is hoped teenagers suffering from eating disorders like anorexia will get help much more quickly, and from 2017/2018 a new waiting time measure will track the increasing number of patients being seen within a month of being referred, or within a week for urgent cases.

NHS mental health

The Prime Minister David Cameron said: “We need to let people know that they’re not in this alone, that when the clouds descend, they don’t have to suffer silently.

“I want us to be able to say to anyone who is struggling, ‘talk to someone, ask your doctor for help and we will always be there to support you’.”

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. Mental health is hugely important in any discussion about improving life chances and mental health problems can affect anyone, from mums-to-be preparing for their first child to older people at risk of isolation.”

President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Professor Sir Simon Wessely, said: “Put simply, more money means fewer problems. Fewer lives impacted by illness, fewer families existing rather than living, fewer constraints on the care provided.”

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