How Mental Health Can Be Improved in 2015

Autumn 2014 saw a burst of activity and conversations were started about the issues with mental health care. There was a mental health strategy announced by the coalition government. There were targets for mental health services; early intervention on psychosis, psychological therapy and the standards for provision to be improved with more money.

Everyone was thinking about the importance of health and care in terms of mental health and child and adolescent mental service.

For 2015 we should not simply dismiss this as rhetoric. It needs to be utilised. We need to deliver equality between mental and physical health. There now needs to be focus on the intention of the announcements and make sure that the focus is on implementing the suggestions. A reported from the Guardian shares how he feels the following needs to happen;

A mainstream approach to mental health – investing in mental health is investing in health and wellbeing of individuals and a solution for mental health will help the whole healthcare system. It is important to recognise the contribution that good mental health makes on our workforce and economy.

Greater investment – mental health conditions equate to 21.9% of conditions faced by the NHS but they only receive 11.9% of the budget. There needs to be new money introduced in this. Everywhere in the NHS budget is struggling don’t take the money from one area to give to mental health – it needs to be new.

A payment system for mental health services that is fit for purpose – There has been too little progress on payment systems to support providers of mental health services. Costs are rising, demand is rising but the financial challenges are getting tougher. A multi-year approach is required, planning and funding framework is needed.

Using access targets to improve quality, not as an end in themselves – we must be careful that investments and decisions aren’t skewed to meet national targets rather than local priorities.

Achieve structural parity – the level of spending and the quality of commissioning across the country needs addressing and equalised. We need to avoid the postcode lottery of who has what services available to them.