The UK government is funding a mental health recovery with £500m that will support hundreds of thousands of people living with mental health conditions.
As part of the government’s Mental Health Recovery Action Plan, the funding will support those with mental health conditions including severe mental illnesses such as bipolar and schizophrenia and more common mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Our Recovery Action Plan, backed by £500m of funding will accelerate the expansion of mental health services and provide people with the support they need. As part of our response to this global pandemic we not only want to tackle the public health threat of coronavirus but ensure our clinicians have the resources to deal with the impact on people’s mental health.”
The aim of the plan is to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mental health therapies
The funding will expand support to the NHS talking therapies (IAPT services), which offer confidential treatment of conditions such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD, supporting 1.6 million people to access services in 2021/22, backed by an additional £38m, and additional therapists will also be trained to support those with more complex mental health needs.
The funding will enhance community mental health services, which will be backed by £58m for better, joined up support between primary and secondary care, and will enable people with severe mental illnesses to access psychological therapies, improved physical health care, employment support, personalised and trauma-informed care, medicines management, and support for self-harm.
One-off initiatives will also receive funding to tackle the impact of the pandemic on mental health and learning disability and autism services, as well as levelling up services for the most deprived local authority areas in England. This support will include services supporting prevention activities like debt advice, carers support, outreach to people facing loneliness and isolation, youth projects, and community groups.
Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Nadine Dorries said: “I am acutely aware of the impact the pandemic has had on the mental health and wellbeing of many. The public has shown great resilience during these challenging times, but some groups including young people and those with severe mental illness have been impacted more than others.
“This funding will support these groups, both in initiatives specifically designed in the wake of the pandemic, and by enabling us to bring forward our NHS Long Term Plan commitments. For anyone who is feeling they need support, I urge you to reach out. Our mental health services are here for you.”
The Recovery Action Plan will also support the development and testing of a ‘Mental Health Impact Assessment’ for all new policies, and the continuation of the Ministerial group examining the impacts of the pandemic on mental health and wellbeing.
Supporting the NHS workforce
Government departments will also be supporting Public Health England’s Psychological First Aid training for workers and volunteers to help develop their skills in providing support to those affected by COVID-19.
£111m will be invested to train people to enter the NHS workforce, which will ensure staff are in place to support two million more people access NHS mental health care and treatment by 2023/24.
An additional £10m will be invested to support the mental health of the NHS workforce, on top of support put in place by NHS England, including a dedicated confidential staff support line operated by the Samaritans, and a £15m investment to strengthen mental health support for NHS staff during the second wave.