Spending Review must be a turning point for nation’s mental health with ‘perfect storm’ ahead, says Centre for Mental Health

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The nation’s mental health is at a tipping point in the aftermath of Covid-19 and it needs urgent action from government, Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sarah Hughes said today.

Publishing the Centre’s submission to the Government’s 2021 Spending Review, Sarah Hughes said: “The last 18 months have put great pressure on the nation’s mental health. For many, this has been a traumatic time. With the end of the furlough scheme and the cut to many people’s Universal Credit payments, we now face a ‘perfect storm’ with continued risks from the virus, seasonal flu and the economic impacts of Brexit.

“The Spending Review must make the nation’s mental health a priority. During the next three years, we expect about 10 million people to need mental health support as a result of the pandemic. There are already 1.5 million people waiting for mental health care, and many of the effects are yet to come.

“The Government should make three major commitments in the Spending Review. First, it should commit to keep the promises of the Long Term Plan for mental health. That includes giving mental health services a fair share of NHS funding, expanding support in communities, and boosting social care. Second, it should take action to improve children’s mental health. That means investing in evidence-based parenting support for young families, in helping schools to promote mental health for all children, and in early support hubs for young people. And third, it should take steps to prevent mental ill health. This should start with a pledge to keep the £20 Universal Credit lifeline to keep people out of poverty at this critical time. And it should include investing in public health services, with funding that enables them to protect the mental health of their local communities.

“Our mental health is at a tipping point. The Spending Review could make that into a turning point. Putting mental health first will ensure public money is spent for the public good, and it is a wise investment with both immediate and longer-term benefits for us all.”

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