We are going backwards: mental health cuts exacerbate a growing health burdenPosted: August 14, 2014
We are deeply concerned by recent cuts to NHS mental health service providers which exacerbate the problems of an already extremely under-resourced sector.
These cuts are the most recent in a long list of events that display the Government’s lack of support for the sector, says Isabella Goldie, our Director of Development and Delivery: “Despite mental health problems being 23% of the burden of illness in England, funding (currently sitting at 13%) is becoming even more disproportionate.
“Whilst we absolutely welcome the government’s commitment to parity of esteem for mental health and a move to a focus on outcomes, recent figures show immediate and drastic action is needed”.
Figures from a recent HSJ analysis of all 57 Trusts show one in five experienced cuts of 5-9%, leading to a dramatic reduction in beds and staff available to people who require acute mental health support.
“We can see from the steep rise in out-of-area placements that those who need highly specialised care and support are travelling long distances for services.
“It is unacceptable that people, at their most vulnerable, afraid and distressed, are being placed in unfamiliar areas, and shows that mental health services are reaching a crisis point.
“Given that 1 in 4 people (and growing) will experience mental health problems this is an issue that affects us all.”
We advocate for more work to be done in prevention across the course of a life and call for further investment in evidence-based preventative approaches such as parenting support.
“Any compassionate society needs to ensure that our public services are available and fit for purpose when people are at their most vulnerable,” says Isabella.
“For mental health services this means ensuring services are measured and funded based on outcomes that drive real improvements to the lives of people with mental health problems.”
Our joint Mental Health Policy Group has joined a wide range of other professional bodies, service user and carer groups and academics to express concern about what this means for already disproportionately funded mental services and the aim of the government to create parity of esteem.