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Andy Bell, chair of the group, said the following:
“The Chancellor’s decision to highlight mental health in the Spending Review today is welcome. While the announcement of additional funding for mental health services is a good start, it is vital that we see more investment in mental health from NHS England going forward if we are to achieve the turnaround we so desperately need. We hope that NHS England will follow the Chancellor’s lead in responding to the recommendations of the Mental Health Taskforce early next year, to ensure that the funding translates to real change and focused investment on the ground.
“There are, however, sizeable question marks around many of the wider issues facing people with mental health problems. We are particularly concerned about potential cuts to public health budgets in this parliament and continued pressures on social care and housing, which all have the potential to have a major impact on people with mental health problems and their families. We are simply not investing enough in preventing mental health problems in the first place, leaving people to become more unwell and in need of more long-term and costly treatment.
“This is all the more damaging considering that five consecutive years of cuts have left mental health services stretched to their very limits, while demand for services continues to increase. The social and economic cost of mental health problems is currently estimated at over £100bn a year, including a personal cost which we cannot ignore. We all have mental health as we do physical health, and we deserve services that support them both equally when we are unwell. We are therefore calling on the Government and NHS England to clarify their spending commitments around mental health to ensure that it receives its fair share for each of the next five years.”
*The Mental Health Policy Group consists of six national organisations working together to improve mental health: Mind, Centre for Mental Health, Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Network, Rethink Mental Illness and Royal College of Psychiatrists.