Early help 'key to tackling mental health problems'
- Published on Thursday, 03 February 2011 10:25
- Posted by Scott Buckler
The No health without mental health Strategy outlines how a new emphasis on early intervention and prevention will help tackle the underlying causes of mental ill-health. It sets out how the Government will work with the NHS, local government and the third sector to help people recover and challenge stigma.
Central to these plans is an additional investment of around £400 million to improve access to modern, evidence-based psychological therapies over the next four years.
This will extend the current programme available to offer personalised support to 3.2 million people across the country, making available a choice of psychological therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Counselling for Depression, and Interpersonal Psychotherapy and ensuring access for anyone who needs it.
At least one in four people experience a mental health problem at some point in their life and mental ill-health represents up to 23% of the total burden of ill health in the UK - the largest single cause of illness.
Half of those with mental health problems first experience symptoms before the age of 14 and three-quarters before their mid twenties. Depression is also the most common mental health problem in people aged over 65, with 13-16% having sufficiently severe depression to require treatment.
The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:
“The evidence is clear: mental health needs to be addressed with the same urgency as physical health. We need to end the stigma attached to mental illness, to set an example by talking about the issue openly and candidly and ensure everyone can access the support and information they need.
“The strategy today shows how we will put people at the heart of everything we do, from a new focus on early intervention to increased funding for psychological therapy, so that everyone has a fair opportunity to get their lives back on track.”
Care Services Minister, Paul Burstow said:
“For too long mental health has been the poor relation in the NHS. Yet we know that good mental health and resilience are fundamental to our physical health, our relationships, our education, our work and to achieving our potential.
“What this strategy does is ensure that modern, evidence-based therapies are available for all who need them. Working with others, the Government is determined to promote good mental health and wellbeing and challenge the stigma and discrimination that still affects so many people with mental health problems today.
“With one in four of us likely to suffer from a mental health problem at some point in our lives, it’s not a question of them and us. Good mental health is everyone’s business.”
Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley said:
“There is no good health without good mental health. Too often in the past, mental health issues have been marginalised. This cross-government strategy will finally place good mental health at the heart of everything we do.
"The six key aims of this strategy make clear our commitment to improving public health and wellbeing through improving mental health.
“For the first time, people of all ages with mental health problems will be able to receive personalised care to reflect their own needs.
“The NHS will also no longer focus its attention on treatment alone - but will move towards early intervention and prevention to deliver outcomes for patients which are amongst the best in the world.”
This strategy commits to beginning to expand provision of psychological therapies to children and young people, older people, people with long-term physical health problems, those with medically unexplained symptoms and those with serious mental illness. This will help to reduce the burden of ill-health in the UK and ensure that evidence-based therapies are available to these key groups.
Patients will be able to request a referral via their GP or contact the provider directly for a self-referral consultation.
Extending psychological therapies to all those with mental health problems will result in one million people recovering from their condition by 2014 and 75,000 people getting their lives back on track by returning to work, education, training or volunteering. It will also create over £700 million of savings to the public sector in healthcare, tax and welfare gains.
The Government’s priorities are summarised in six main objectives - agreed with partner organisations in the mental health sector - to make clear to individuals, families and communities how the Government’s plans will make a positive difference to them. This Strategy will ensure that by 2014:
• more people will have good mental health;
• more people with mental health problems will recover;
• more people with mental health problems will have good physical health;
• more people with mental health problems will have a positive experience of care and support;
• fewer people will suffer avoidable harm; and
• fewer people will experience stigma and discrimination.
Sarah Brennan, Chair of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition and Chief Executive of YoungMinds said:
“We commend the Government for putting children and young people at the heart of its mental health strategy for the first time. Thus emphasising the vital importance of giving all young people a good start in life and the effect of this on long term mental health.
“Effective implementation of this strategy however will be challenging in the tough economic climate. We look forward to working with government to make the strategy a reality, resulting in a transformation in the lives of children and young people in Britain today.”
Future Vision Coalition co-chair Dr Andrew McCulloch said:
“The Government has today made a much needed commitment both to promote good mental health for all and to improve support for those who experience mental ill health.
“People of all ages with mental health problems are too often excluded from the opportunities in life that others enjoy. The strategy shows that all government departments need to work together to improve the mental health of the whole population and to secure better, quicker and more responsive services for those who need them.”
In addition, the Government will:
1. launch the Health Visitors Implementation plan following our announcement last October for 4,200 additional health visitors;
2. through the Early Intervention Grant bring together funding (£2.2bn in 2011-12) for early intervention and preventative services for children, young people and families, which can also be used for Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS). Local authorities will have greater freedom and flexibility to put in place programmes that can reduce conduct disorder, improve family relationships and reduce costs to social care, youth justice, education and health systems;
3. provide an extra investment of up to £7.2 million to ensure the best treatment possible for veterans with mental health problems;
4. ensure that by 2014 people in contact with the criminal justice system will have improved access to mental health services – as outlined in the Ministry of Justice Green Paper Breaking the Cycle: Effective Punishment, Rehabilitation and Sentencing of Offenders;
5. work in partnership with the Time to Change programme to challenge stigma and discrimination;
6. establish community budgets in 16 local areas for families with complex needs (including mental health problems) as part of a national campaign to turn around the lives of families with multiple problems;
7. ensure that all psychological therapy sites have an employment co-ordinator who will work with Jobcentre Plus offices, employers and occupational health schemes to help people get back into work;
8. launch a consultation to extend to all employees the right to request flexible working, which will help carers of people with mental health problems to manage their caring role alongside work; and
9. publish a new cross-Government suicide prevention strategy in the spring of 2011.
The No health without mental health strategy, a cross-Government mental health outcomes strategy for people of all ages, is the second of a number of outcomes strategies published following on from the White Paper, Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS.
Outcomes strategies will play a crucial role in translating the underpinning principles of the Coalition Government’s reforms of the health and care services into the steps needed to drive improved health outcomes; putting patients and the public first, empowering professionals and strengthening local accountability.