Thank you for contacting me about mental health.
I agree with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care that while it is hugely welcome that we are on the road to parity of esteem, there is still more to do. I am extremely encouraged by the news that, as part of the five-year funding offer that will see the annual NHS budget grow by over £33.9 billion, mental health services will receive budget growth of £2.3 billion over the five-year funding settlement, the fastest uplift in funding. This will enable further service expansion and faster access to community and crisis mental health services for both adults and particularly children and young people.
I am pleased that a new mental health crisis service with comprehensive mental health support will be available in every major A&E, alongside new children and young peoples’ crisis teams across the country. The additional funding will also deliver more mental health ambulances, “safe havens” in the community; and a 24-hour mental health crisis hotline when people are in urgent need of help.
It is vital that all parts of the country, urban, suburban and rural alike, have the same access to healthcare services. Mental health is a priority in the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP), set to receive an extra £2.3 billion each year by 2023/24. The LTP also underlines the importance of minimising health inequalities, through targeting a higher share of funding towards areas with high inequalities, and championing local charities and social enterprises providing services and support across the country.
Public Health England published an extensive Health and Wellbeing in Rural Areas report in 2017, tacking crucial issues surrounding mental health and accessibility. Community is a vital actor in combating mental illness and through investment in primary healthcare, the Government is enabling improved access to community and crisis mental health services closer to home.
I hope these new services help end the stigma surrounding mental health, offering crucial support to people suffering from crisis and those who have suffered in silence for too long.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
EDWARD LEIGH MP