The newly published NHS Long Term Plan makes for some very positive reading for mental health services users across the UK.
Out of the £20.5 billion promised by NHS England to finance this plan, a substantial amount will be channelled towards improving mental health services, a move which has been widely praised by mental health charities.
Additional funding of up to £250 million a year will be allocated for new mental health crisis services by the year 2023/24, as well as an additional £2.3 billion to improve talking therapy access for 380,000 adults and 350,000 children and young people.
On top of this, a commitment has been made to help ensure a smoother transition from young person’s to adult services.
There will also be improved access for new parents who require mental health support prior to and after their child’s birth. This support will encompass first time fathers.
There will be new, improved targets for waiting times, and incentives will be given to those entering or re-entering professions within the mental health sector.
Chief Executive for the British Psychological Society, Sarb Bajwa, has praised these significant steps forward in the following statement:
In aiming for parity between physical and mental health services these plans demonstrate a clear commitment to mental health through increased spending and introducing access standards.
There is still a long way to go but the announcements made today show that the NHS has been listening and these plans could be transformative if they are delivered effectively, with the right workforce in place.
Bajwa has stressed the important role psychologists will have when implementing this plan, and has explained how prevention and early intervention should be prioritised.
“The #NHSLongTermPlan will reinforce the NHS as a world leading health system when it comes to the money it spends on mental health services and the support and treatment it offers those who need it.” – PM @Theresa_May pic.twitter.com/mbDuaMgOka
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) January 6, 2019
Chief Executive of mental health charity Mind, Paul Farmer, wrote:
We are really pleased to see that mental health is such a key focus in the NHS long term plan and we welcome the £2.3bn set aside for mental health services.
This is the kind of sustained investment we need to see to put mental health on an equal footing with physical health and, if delivered, this plan will make a difference to the lives of thousands of people with mental health problems.
Everyone now needs to work together to develop the workforce needed and to deliver these plans and to ensure the money reaches the frontline. Local decision makers need to develop their own plans and the proof of delivery will be in the experiences of people trying to access the services they need.
With 2 million more adults in the UK expected to have mental health problems by 2030, it's vital that the new #NHSLongTermPlan is delivered and money reaches services on the front line. Read our response here > https://t.co/WiSjDe7kTV pic.twitter.com/EQVJIPq0B3
— Mind (@MindCharity) January 7, 2019
A brilliant and much needed step forward in addressing the issue of mental health in the UK, bringing vital support to those working within what has long been an overstretched sector.
If you’re experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is there to support you. They’re open from 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0800 58 58 58, and they also have a webchat service if you’re not comfortable talking on the phone.
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