Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from 43 mental health trusts in England show that total funding for the trusts’ mental health services dropped in real terms by 8.25 per cent, or almost £600m (once inflation has been accounted for).
Mind's Chief Executive Paul Farmer said:
“These figures reveal the true extent of cuts to mental health services over recent years. This week, the government announced extra funding for children and young people’s mental health services, a reflection of the scale of under resourcing. Today’s figures clearly show that the rest of mental health services are suffering just as much and need significant investment.
“The impact of these cuts falls squarely on patient care. Bed shortages, cuts to frontline nursing posts and long waiting times for therapy have been well-documented in the last couple of years and, at the same time, demand has been increasing as more and more people come forward and seek help. The treatment gap for mental health is huge – 75 per cent of people with mental health problems get no help at all. Meanwhile, many more are being turned away from services when they need them the most, left to cope alone with self-harm and suicidal thoughts.
“The next government will need to hit the ground running on mental health. Those in power can no longer ignore the fundamental truth that services only work when they are properly resourced. We need to see a permanent increase in the NHS mental health budget of at least £1bn if we are to reverse the damage caused by years of neglect and recent cuts.”