“The rise in the number of unexpected deaths among people using mental health services in England is a cause for very great concern and must spur further action to achieve equal treatment in the NHS,” Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sarah Hughes said today.

"Today's Panorama broadcast highlights the growing pressures mental health services in England are facing. More people than ever are receiving vital support from specialist mental health services yet budgets have been cut and funding is failing to keep pace with the rest of the NHS.

Unexpected deaths are a major cause for concern and the recent rise must make us more determined than ever to invest in better support for people with mental health problems

"Every loss of life in today's figures is a tragedy. It affects whole families and communities. Unexpected deaths are a major cause for concern for the NHS and the recent rise must make us more determined than ever to invest in better support for people with mental health problems, not just from the NHS but from the whole of government and society more widely.

"We know that investing in better, earlier and more responsive mental health services saves lives and is vital for the sustainability of the NHS. We need to offer good quality help when people need it and respond effectively when people experience a crisis. And we need to provide far better help for people's physical health to end the scandal of people with mental health problems dying an average of 15-20 years too soon."

We need to provide far better help for people's physical health to end the scandal of people with mental health problems dying an average of 15-20 years too soon