Response to the consultation on the mental health and wellbeing plan
The government is developing a new, cross-government, ten-year plan, to improve everyone’s mental health and wellbeing in England, and includes a focus on people who experience worse outcomes than the general population. The Mental Health Network, which is part of the NHS Confederation, has responded to the consultation.
- We welcome the development of this plan. The majority of the determinants of good mental health and wellbeing sit outside the NHS, so improving preventative, early intervention and specialist mental health services will take commitment from across government departments.
- There has never been a better time to develop a cross-government plan. The pandemic has had a significant impact on the nation’s mental health and wellbeing and existing inequalities exacerbated. While we have seen renewed commitments from the government to driving parity of esteem, we are still a long way off achieving it.
- We heard strong calls from our members for a focus on building early intervention and preventative support, but that this cannot be at the cost of continuing to improve specialist care for those with a serious mental illness.
- A focus on children and young people, and groups most at risk of poor mental health will see the highest return on investment. Reducing the risk factors, including insecure housing and deprivation are the most effective ways we can reduce the number experiencing mental health problems.
- Funding improvement across the whole pathway will be challenging for systems without increased ring-fenced funding for mental health. This plan cannot be cost neutral and will need upfront funding, but significant savings will be received across government departments in the short, medium, and long term.
- Key commitments required to ensure improvements in prevention, early intervention and specialist mental health services:
- Implement a mental health impact policy tool across government.
- Expand the provision of supported housing and the availability of high-quality digital support within mental health pathways.
- Commitment to implement new clinical access targets in mental health.
- Use growing public interest in mental health and build on the growth of the mental health workforce.
- Commitment to 100 per cent coverage of mental health support teams in schools.
- Implement a new target to eliminate out of area placements for adults and children and young people.
- Allocate appropriate revenue and capital funding to support the implementation of the Mental Health Act reforms.
- Allocate targeted funding to improve performance against the children and young people’s eating disorder targets.
- Reverse cuts to public health funding and ring-fence 4 per cent of public health spend for public mental health.