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Society calls for extra spending to achieve parity of esteem for mental health

25 October 2018

The British Psychological Society has backed a call for new government investment to make a reality of its goal of parity of esteem between physical and mental health.

Sarb Bajwa, the Society chief executive, is one of 15 leaders of organisations with an interest in mental health to sign an open letter to the prime minister.

It draws upon research published today by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), supported by Rethink Mental Illness, setting out the extra government spending needed to bring about true parity of esteem for mental health.

The letter says:

By comparing access and quality of mental health care to physical health this report finds that to guarantee parity of esteem, mental health spending must double to £23.9bn by 2030/31, alongside uplifts in public health and social care budgets.

In light of the welcome extra funding for the NHS, now is the time to translate your commitments into ambitious and bold action. NHS mental health services require an increase in spending of at least 5% each year up to 2023/24 and 5.5 per cent by 2030/31 to achieve parity of esteem compared to your committed increase for the NHS of 3.4% by 2023.

Only with this investment will people living with mental health conditions truly receive the care and support they need to have an equal chance of a long and fulfilling life as those with a physical health condition.

Welcoming the publication of the IPPR report, Sarb Bajwa said:

"The British Psychological Society has long called for parity of esteem between physical and mental health services to become a reality for service users and their families. This new research sets out the extra investment needed to achieve this goal.

The prime minister has spoken of the “burning injustice of mental illness” and committed herself to delivering “a new approach from government and society as a whole”. Now is the time to take a decisive step to realising these ambitions."

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