Community mental health services in England will receive over £400 million to improve 24/7 provision of care, prime minister David Cameron has announced.
Speaking at the offices of charity Family Action in North London, the prime minister also announced an additional £290 million for perinatal mental health services. He also said that waiting time targets for teenagers with eating disorders and patients experiencing psychosis would be introduced for the first time.
‘Mental illness isn’t contagious. There’s nothing to be frightened of,’ said Mr Cameron. ‘As a country, we need to be far more mature about this. Less hushed tones, less whispering; more frank and open discussion.’
The Department of Health has said that the extra capital will allow mental health services in community settings to offer significantly more comprehensive care for patients, with 24 hour availability and two visits a day if necessary. Additionally, the boost in funding will mean that 30,000 more women each year will have access to specialist mental healthcare before and after having their child.
‘This is a significant moment for mental health and we are pleased to see the prime minister giving it the attention it deserves, said Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind and independent chair of NHS England’s Taskforce on Mental Health. ‘Mental health is hugely important in any discussion about improving life chances and mental health problems can affect anyone, from mums-to-be preparing for their first child to older people at risk of isolation.’
Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, has said that £1.4 billion will be invested in mental health services by 2020. ‘Giving people the right mental health support is one of the most important ways to make sure everyone has the best start in life,’ he said.