The Government must take decisive action to boost the nation’s mental health in tomorrow’s Spending Review, Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sarah Hughes said today.
Speaking in advance of Wednesday’s Comprehensive Spending Review, which determines public spending priorities in England for the next three years, Sarah Hughes said: “The nation’s mental health is at a tipping point in the aftermath of Covid-19. It needs urgent and decisive action from the Government to turn the tide on rising distress.
“We forecast that the equivalent of ten million people will need support for their mental health as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic. That includes thousands of people who have suffered from loss, trauma, burnout and adversity over the last two years.
“Now is the time for the Government to act to save our mental health. The Chancellor has the power to make choices that will protect people’s mental health and offer timely support when it’s needed.
“The Spending Review must invest in a national network of early support hubs for young people’s mental health. For just £103 million a year (less than 0.1% of the NHS budget) we could have an early support hub in every part of England, reaching half a million young people annually.
“The Spending Review can turn the tide on public health spending. The Health Foundation estimates that public health services need a £1.4 billion uplift to get back to their 2015 spending power. That would fund vital Health Visiting, substance misuse and suicide prevention services in every local area.
“The Spending Review must clarify the Government’s continued commitment to the NHS Long Term Plan for mental health, with desperately needed funding for social care, resources to implement new access and waiting time standards as well as investment in education and training, and replacing outdated and inadequate buildings, facilities and vehicles.
“Decisions made in the Spending Review will also have a big part to play in determining how many people will experience mental ill health in the years to come. Reversing the £20 cut in Universal Credit, for example, could keep many thousands of people out of poverty, significantly reducing their risk of mental ill health.
“The nation’s mental health is at a tipping point. The Spending Review can make that into a turning point, turning the tide on rising distress and putting wellbeing at the heart of public policy.”