Last Wednesday was World Mental Health Day; an opportunity for our country to reaffirm its commitment to ensuring parity of esteem between physical and mental health.
Later this year the NHS ten year plan will be published. One key pledge is for enhanced access to mental health services, to help achieve the Government’s goal of equality of treatment.
At Prime Minister’s Questions last week I called on Theresa May to ensure health services continue to return locally after the removal of Crawley Hospital services under Labour in 2005.
Earlier in the year I questioned the Department of Health & Social Care about the timetable for the Government’s commitment to the roll-out of mental health workers throughout schools in England. This is an area I have followed up on and welcome the Prime Minister’s update for World Mental Health Day on this matter.
Recruitment for new mental health support teams is underway. They will ensure young people with mental health issues receive the support they need, and will work with schools to provide this. Trainees will begin studying in January and join schools across England next year.
Tools will be provided to schools to measure the health of students, including their mental wellbeing. This builds on the commitment to make education in mental health a compulsory part of the curriculum.
From next year the Government will publish an annual State of the Nation report to raise awareness of trends and issues in the mental wellbeing of young people; the first such reporting of children’s mental health.
Clinical Commissioning Groups, such as ours in Crawley, have been asked to increase spending on mental health provision each year.
Half of all mental illness starts by the age of 14. By ensuring mental health is treated on a par with physical health we can ensure that people receive the treatment they need.
Henry Smith MP