Society welcomes new NHS commitment to mental health care

The NHS in England today has committed itself to a transformation of mental health care, pledging to help more than a million extra people and invest more than £1bn a year by 2020/21. This investment is in addition to previously announced new funding for children, young people and perinatal care.

This move has been made in response to the final report of an independent taskforce chaired by the Chief Executive of Mind Paul Farmer:

Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes, the President of the British Psychological Society and a member of the task force, said:

"The psychological health of the people of this country is such an important issue and so the British Psychological Society has been pleased to engage fully as a member of the Mental Health Taskforce right from its inception. 

“Throughout the life of the Taskforce the Society has called for new investment to extend the availability and variety of psychological therapies in order to ensure that psychological health is treated with the same as emphasis as physical health.

“The Society has also called for new monies to be invested into extending psychological health liaison services, for new monies to be invested into perinatal psychological health services and for long term physical conditions to be addressed properly in people with problems with their psychological health. 

“The Society is delighted to see that all these calls, and many more, have been reflected in today's final Taskforce report and so we now look forward to psychologists, along with others, being able to make even more of a difference in improving the psychological health of all those for whom NHS England is responsible."

The report says there has been a significant expansion in access to psychological therapies, yet only 15 per cent of people who need it currently get care. More action is also needed to help people with anxiety and depression to find or keep a job, as well as to ensure that people with long-term conditions have their physical and mental health care needs met.

By 2020, new funding should increase access to evidence-based psychological therapies, helping 600,000 more people access care.

The report also notes that suicide is rising after many years of decline. It calls for every area of the health service to have suicide prevention plans in place by 2017 and for them to be reviewed annually.

Other areas for action identified in the report include the physical health of people experiencing mental health problems, the mental health of children and young people, and the need for more comprehensive community-based mental health crisis services.

Read the full report on the NHS England website.