The Mental Health Taskforce has provided the NHS and its partners with a vision for better mental health support and a fairer health and care system, Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sean Duggan said today.

Welcoming the launch of the Mental Health Five Year Forward View, published today by NHS England, Sean Duggan said: “The Taskforce report sets out some big challenges for health and care services, based on the views and experiences of people who have experienced mental ill health. It identifies important actions we need to take now to change the NHS so that it treats mental health equally to physical health.

“We are delighted that the report seeks to increase the number of people who get earlier help for their mental health. Too many people have to wait for effective support, too often ending up in a crisis before they get help. That has to change.

“The taskforce identifies priority areas for action, including better mental health care for women during pregnancy and after childbirth, investment in children’s mental health, and a doubling of the number of people benefiting from effective employment support. It is vital that investment in these areas is made and that funds are spent wisely on implementing effective interventions faithfully and without cutting costs.

"The Taskforce report lays bare the inequality at the heart of the NHS. Too many people with mental health problems get too little help too late. Many get nothing at all. Today’s report makes clear that this is unacceptable and must change. Real equality will take more than five years to achieve and will require sustained local and national effort. But if we ignore the challenge we will miss an opportunity to create a fairer and healthier society for all."

Sean Duggan, Centre for Mental Health

“The report seeks a significant improvement in the links between mental and physical health care. It calls for all hospitals to have effective liaison psychiatry services and for more people with long-term conditions to get access to psychological therapy when they need it. These are vital steps to making the NHS not just more responsive to people’s needs but more cost-effective too.

“The report also calls for improved crisis care, including reinvestment in crisis resolution and home treatment teams that in too many areas have been dismantled in recent years. And it calls for continued investment in liaison and diversion services to help people who have been arrested or who appear in court.

“Some of the biggest changes called for in the report are behind the scenes, to the way mental health care is paid for, how staff are trained and how services are held to account for achieving improvements. It is crucial that we get these things right to create a level playing field for the first time for mental health in the NHS.

“It is now vital that the taskforce report is implemented effectively. This means investing in good quality support for local organisations to make changes in equal partnerships with the people they aim to serve. It means ensuring funds are spent on the improvements they are designed to bring about, with transparent reporting of spending nationally and locally. And it requires commitment from every part of the NHS, not just mental health services, to bring about change.

“We know that the NHS faces an unprecedented financial challenge in the next five years. Local councils face even bigger pressures, putting public health and social care under threat despite their important roles in promoting and protecting mental health. But the changes the Taskforce is calling for could help public services improve the help they offer and make more equitable and effective use of scarce resources.

“The Taskforce report lays bare the inequality at the heart of the NHS. Too many people with mental health problems get too little help too late. Many get nothing at all. Today’s report makes clear that this is unacceptable and must change. Real equality will take more than five years to achieve and will require sustained local and national effort. But if we ignore the challenge we will miss an opportunity to create a fairer and healthier society for all.”