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This is the dawn of a new age for mental health care
The Chief Executive of Mind and independent Chairman of the Mental Health Taskforce explains why today’s launch of a five year plan is so crucial:
As the Taskforce publishes its final report – The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health – it’s remarkable to think how far we have come over the last few months.
I am incredibly proud of the work that has gone into it and the sheer scale of the coproduction, from the 20,000 plus people who responded to the consultation, to working so closely with the various parts of the NHS and other bodies and agencies that will be instrumental in delivering on the recommendations we set out.
What we have produced has the potential to transform the services and the support that people receive for their mental health.
It sets out exactly what needs to happen to make sure people get access to the treatment and support they need, when they need it. We make recommendations for the NHS to achieve the ambition of ‘parity of esteem’ between mental and physical health for children and young people, adults and older people. This includes prevention, early intervention, access to crisis care and better integration of mental and physical health care.
We also make a set of key recommendations that go beyond the NHS.
Many people we spoke to told us that, as well as access to good quality mental health services, their main ambition was to have a decent place to live, a job and good quality relationships in their local communities. Improving life chances in this way requires a cross-government approach and the Taskforce has not shied away from setting out what needs to change.
Throughout our work we have placed particular emphasis on tackling inequalities. Mental ill health disproportionately affects the poor, the unemployed and the excluded. For too many people, especially people from Black and Minority Ethnic communities, their first experience of mental health services comes when they are sectioned, often with police involvement, and with longer stays in hospital.
The report, therefore, includes an important set of recommendations to tackle inequalities at both a local and a national level.
Such transformational change can’t be achieved without the right resources. Mental health services have been neglected for decades and the signs of the strain are everywhere. The NHS and other bodies need significant investment if we are to bring services and support up to standard and meet growing demand.
The launch of the report is just the beginning of a long journey. In and of itself, a report holds no power – the real work starts with implementation, and everyone has a part to play in making sure our plan is delivered. We are relying on national leadership and local delivery to get the job done.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all the Taskforce members, and the thousands of people who contributed to and helped co-produce this report. It is a landmark moment for mental health and a real opportunity to finally deliver the kind of services and support that people with mental health problems need and deserve.
This “dawn of a new age for mental health care” is such welcome relief for colleagues who provide mental health services to a great multitude of individuals living with mental health conditions, who have endured such appalling under resourced service for a protracted period of time. All practitioners and educationalists in Health and Social Care should applaud this ‘promise’ and ensure that the government is held accountable on this promise; until full implementation is achieved. We are right behind the task force.
A NHS nurse I know has suffered with mental ill health conditions including stress, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder and depression for several years due to many years of bullying by other nursing staff and mismanagement at work. It took many many months of phone calls and emails in 2014 before she was eventually given counselling sessions via the NHS but she was then informed in 2015 by her NHS mental health counsellor that her mental health conditions were too complex for the NHS counsellor to treat and help with so the nurse was discharged from and out of the NHS mental health care and left to fend for herself. The only mental health support the nurse is now getting is via a charity local to where she lives. To add insult to injury because the nurse has had many months off work due to stress, anxiety and depression her NHS employer is now in the process of terminating her employment due to sickness absence and the mental ill health she is still suffering. The NHS Trust concerned failed to acknowledge the severe mental ill health conditions as a disability within the scope of the Equality Act 2010 and thus did not implement any reasonable adjustments to assist the nurse stay in employment.
Who cares for the carers ? It appears that no one does.
If the NHS cannot protect and support it’s own staff who are there to help everyone else then the future is not looking good for anyone who is suffering with or will suffer with mental ill health or any other complex ill health conditions.
The NHS is in melt-down, things will only get worse and everyone, staff and patients alike are suffering and will continue to do so.
It’s time to stop having meetings to discuss when a meeting can be held and spending millions of pounds discussing and compiling reports about what has gone wrong but then failing to implement recommendations due to the lack of funding.
It’s time to actually begin providing the NHS services that everyone need and deserve.