Prime Minister David Cameron has conceded that the nation must focus more strongly on mental health, after a review indicated that the care afforded the mentally ill in the UK is often inadequate and underfunded.
Indeed, the report indicated that the depletion of mental health care in the UK is leading to “thousands of tragic and unnecessary deaths”.
The report emanated from a taskforce that was set up by NHS England, and discovered much hugely damning information that reflects disastrously on the current provisions for mental health difficulties in UK.
In particular, it concluded that 75% of people with mental health problems received absolutely no help whatsoever.
The fallout from this research is that the government has conceded far more needs to be done to assist mentally ill people, and has committed a further £1 billion in funding annually by 2020.
It is hoped that this extra expenditure will make it possible to treat around 4 million further patients by the end of the decade.
But the funds are to come out of the £8.4bn the government has promised to the health service during this Parliament.
Cameron commented on the subject thus: “We should be frank. We have not done enough to end the stigma of mental health. We have focused a lot on physical health and we haven’t as a country focused enough on mental health.”
But Royal College of Psychiatrists president Prof Sir Simon Wessely warned it would take “sustained work” to end the “decades of inequality”.
The investment will reportedly enable 600,000 people to gain access to talking therapies for conditions such as anxiety, depression and stress.
Other processes and programs have also been put in place, including support for severe mental health problems, teams being placed in all A&E units, and additional support for pregnant women and new mothers.
Community crisis care teams will also be rolled out nationwide, as the report found that only 50% of the country currently has access to this critical resource.
Paul Farmer, the chief executive of the mental health charity Mind, was optimistic about the findings of the report, although it must be noted that he has something of a vested interest having led the taskforce!
Farmer said the strategy should act as a “landmark moment” for mental health care, which was currently “very patchy”.
“We are saying to the NHS, to government, to industry, to local leaders and to the public that mental health must be a priority for everyone,” Farmer asserted.
Similar initiatives have been made by governments in Scotland and Wales, as it becomes increasingly clear that there is something of a mental health epidemic in the United Kingdom.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, every year in the UK 70 million workdays are lost due to mental illness, including anxiety, depression and stress related conditions.
And depression is a growing problem, with up to 10 times more people suffering from the condition now that in 1945.