Improving our approach to mental health

Earlier this month, the Prime Minister announced new measures to dramatically improve our country’s approach to mental health, so more young people in Crawley and across the country can receive the necessary care and assistance.

Support will be made available for secondary schools, who will be offered mental health first aid training to increase awareness of the issue, and to remove the outdated stigma which is wholly undeserved.

The Government will additionally be reviewing child and adolescent mental health services, to help identify what’s working and what needs improvement.

One of the key figures given by the Prime Minister in her announcement was that one in four of us has had a common mental disorder at any one time. The chances are that we all know someone who’s been affected, however this issue hasn’t historically received the attention and coverage it needs.

Government plans include, helping schools by building stronger links with local NHS mental health staff; as well as new partnerships with employers – a review into how employees with mental health issues are enabled to thrive in their workplace is to be launched.

Action has been taken in recent years, such as the introduction of the first ever access and waiting standards for mental health services, and the first ever waiting time for teenagers with eating disorders (from 2017-2018 they will be seen within a month of referral or within a week for urgent cases).

The Department of Health will also look at new ways to right the injustices people with mental health face. Currently, hundreds of patients are charged up to £300 by their GP for a form to prove they have mental health issues. The Government will review the mental health debt form, working with the Money & Mental Health Policy Institute.

The Health Secretary told the Commons last month that 1,400 more people are accessing mental health services each day compared to seven years ago, and that there are plans for one million more people with mental health conditions to access services by 2020. While progress is being made, there is still lots more to be done to provide people with the right support.

Henry Smith MP