Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sarah Hughes today welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement of £2 billion extra annual investment in NHS mental health services up to 2023/24 and called for matched investment in public health and social care mental health.

Sarah Hughes said:

Increasing mental health spending as a proportion of NHS funding for the next five years is an important step towards parity. It is vital that this investment is earmarked for mental health to ensure it brings about the promised improvements in care and support and to put right the decades of under-investment in mental health services throughout the NHS.

“We welcome the pledge to improve emergency mental health care, for children as well as adults, including the provision of ambulance services and better help in A&E. Too many people get inadequate help when they face a mental health crisis, and too many do not get treated with dignity when they are most unwell. It is also crucial to invest in services that prevent emergencies, including support in primary care, community services and help with housing and debt.

“We welcome continued investment in mental health support in schools and hope this will extend beyond the current pledge to extend new services to a quarter of schools within five years.

“And we warmly welcome the commitment to invest in more employment support. No one should be denied the right help to get work when they want it. Individual Placement and Support produces consistently good outcomes when implemented faithfully.

“It is vital that this investment is matched by fairer funding for public health, early years and social care services in local government. Services that prevent poor mental health and that enable people to live well have been cut back in recent years, putting more and more pressure on individuals, families, communities and health services. From evidence-based parenting programmes to housing support and social prescribing initiatives, local councils hold the keys to improving wellbeing in communities and they have been starved of funds for too long.

“And parity for mental health within the NHS is not the same as equality for people with mental health difficulties. To bring that about we need to see radical changes to the way schools promote children’s mental health, to benefits including Universal Credit, to prisons and probation services, and much more. And we need to take action against discrimination and social inequality to create a fairer society that will nurture better mental health for all.”