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NHS England’s taskforce on mental health – independently chaired by Mind’s Chief Executive Paul Farmer – has today launched its report, setting out a detailed five-year plan for NHS mental health services, as well as other bodies and services involved in the support of people with mental health problems.
Over 20,000 people who live with a mental health problem or work in the mental health sector told the taskforce they want timely access to good quality mental health services, their mental and physical health needs to be treated equally and a bigger focus is placed on preventing mental health problems.
They also said that a decent place to live, a job and good quality relationships in their local communities were crucial to their ability to stay well.
The key recommendations are:
Paul Farmer said:
“This is a landmark moment for mental health care in this country, a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform services and support for people with mental health problems. 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 in England. We need to prevent problems in the first place, and to respond to people’s mental health problems at the earliest possible opportunity. As part of this, the NHS can and should be a world leader in care which treats people’s minds and bodies equally well.
“This report is a feasible and affordable blueprint for how to significantly improve care for people with mental health problems. We have consulted with the experts – people with experience of mental health problems, professionals providing care and the public. It’s time to make positive change.”
Reactions to the report
NHS England has welcomed the report and has committed to delivering the recommendations, backed by £1billion of new funding in the annual NHS budget by 2020.
Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of NHS England, said:
"One in four of us will suffer from depression, anxiety or other mental health problem, but mental health services have historically been the NHS' poor relation. Putting mental and physical health on an equal footing will require major improvements in seven day mental health crisis care, a large increase in psychological treatments, and a more integrated approach to how services are delivered. That’s what today's taskforce report calls for, and it's what the NHS is now committed to pursuing."
The taskforce report also has the backing of Prime Minister David Cameron, who said today:
“For too long there hasn’t been enough focus on mental health care in this country meaning too many have had to suffer in silence.
“The Taskforce has set out how we can work towards putting mental and physical healthcare on an equal footing and I am committed to making sure that happens.
“This means that if you are struggling with a mental health condition you will get the help and support you need.”