PM pledges almost a billion for mental health

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David Cameron has announced almost a billion pounds of investment to enhance mental health services across England, as part of the NHS plan for the next 5 years.

During a keynote speech, Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged additional funding for mental health, to include:

  • £290 million to provide specialist care to mums before and after having their babies
  • nearly £250 million for mental health services in hospital emergency departments
  • over £400 million to enable 24/7 treatment in communities as a safe and effective alternative to hospital.

He also announced that, for the first time, waiting time targets will be introduced for teenagers with eating disorders and people experiencing psychosis.

In response to the news, 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.’

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, commented: ‘For both the public and the NHS, improving mental health has rightly now shot up our national ‘to do’ list. Putting mental and physical health on an equal footing is a far reaching idea whose time has now come. A sea change in public attitudes coupled with an increasing range of effective mental health treatments mean that now’s the time to tackle the huge unmet need that affects families and communities across the nation.’

Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, also responded to the announcement, saying: ‘We are boosting the mental health support available for young people with £1.4 billion over the next 5 years, putting more mental health professionals in emergency departments and helping new and expectant mums and their babies to be happy and healthy.’