Prime Minister Highlights Plan To Tackle Mental Health Stigma

The Prime Minister made a speech on this topic of the stigma of mental health. It was revealed that schools and employers would have to provide more support and make plans to offer alternatives to hospital treatments. The Government, the Prime Minister indicated; will use its power and influence to make a positive impact in people's lives.

This opens up many conversations for those of us who offer talking therapies to clients but is this good, bad or indifferent news to private practices or counsellors?

While it is rewarding to see that even at the highest level of government the stigma of mental health issues is recognised as needing to be addressed; during her talk with Sophy Ridge (Sky News for the show Ridge on Sunday) Ms. May discussed how the Government would make some changes to help with the stigma that often surrounds mental health problems but no details regarding financing were revealed.  It estimated an additional £15m will be spent to create safe places, which corresponds to roughly £23,000 per constituency.

Mental Health Studies Highlighting Increased Need

The Education Policy Institute Independent Commission on Children and Young People's Mental Health conducted a study on mental health care in November 2016. The study found that 25% of young people who needed mental health care were turned down because they couldn't afford treatment from a specialist. The study also found that there are long waiting lists to receive mental health treatment in some areas.

Theresa May addressed the issue of funding during the interview with Sky News. Her explanation was that narrowing down the issue as a funding problem is a mistake. She added that the stigma that is often associated with seeking mental health care and receiving treatment is a bigger issue than funding for these services.

Mental health first aid training will be offered to staff in secondary schools. There will also be efforts made to create a stronger link between schools and NHS staff so students can receive better treatment.

A new Commission will be tasked with reviewing the current state of mental health services for children and young people. The Care Quality Commission will work on reviewing and improving the services offered to children while another commission will do the same for mental health services in the workplace.

Mental Health Support Via Digital Innovations?

Digitally assisted mental health services will also be offered to make treatment more accessible. Some treatments will be offered via the Internet to maximize the use of existing resources

Ms.May added that mental illness is something that has been hidden for too long. These issues are often considered as being less important than physical health issues and the stigma associated with mental health problems cause these issues to be kept secret.

She further added that mental health problems can ruin lives if they are not addressed. These health problems can cause people to become disconnected from each other and to have other harmful impacts on our society. Addressing the stigma that surrounds mental health issues should be a priority because this is a widespread problem and looking at mental health differently is a first step towards making treatment more accessible and becoming a better society.

Theresa May believes that the Government could be a positive source of change. The actions of the Government could change the way mental health issues are perceived throughout different stages of life. This is only the first step in a plan that would entirely change the way mental health issues are addressed. Schools and the workplace will play a more important part in treating these issues in the future.

Making these changes would allow more people to have access to the care they need. The Prime Minister also believes that addressing the stigma and changing the way we look at mental health would contribute to creating a more positive environment for everyone and foster mental and physical well-being.

Paul Farmer, the chief executive of the mental health charity Mind added that governments and societies have been ignoring mental health issues for too long and that it is time to take action.

Your Optinion Matters

Are these new mental health initiatives going to make an impact given the overall lack of resources and funding in the NHS, and the lack of parity between mental and physical health budgets?  What do you think?