Mental health spending cut for first time in 10 years
A Department of Health report has revealed that spending on mental health services is down by £150 million – the first reduction in spending since 2001, according to a report in The Guardian.
The spending cuts are despite the government’s pledge in the Mental Health Strategy ‘No Health Without Mental Health’ launched in February 2011 that the government would place mental health on a par with physical health in terms of priorities.
At the time, the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said : “The evidence is clear: mental health needs to be addressed with the same urgency as physical health. We need to end the stigma attached to mental illness, to set an example by talking about the issue openly and candidly and ensure everyone can access the support and information they need.
“The strategy today shows how we will put people at the heart of everything we do, from a new focus on early intervention to increased funding for psychological therapy, so that everyone has a fair opportunity to get their lives back on track.”
The DH report shows investment in mental health for working-age adults dropped by 1%, which is £6.63 billion when inflation is taken into account, and investment for older people fell in real terms by 3.1% to £2.83 billion.
The DH argued that the falls in spending reflect the fact it is treating people before they get seriously ill and need mental health provision with the report highlighting significant investment in psychological therapies.
But Labour’s shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: "Ministers need to start putting their money where their mouth is. They must urgently send the clearest of signals to the NHS that mental health is a spending priority. Otherwise, we will fail to rise to the health challenges of the 21st century."
YoungMinds carried out some research into cuts to child and adolescent mental health services last year which found evident cuts to CAMHS services too.
We submitted a Freedom of Information request to health trusts and councils across England and asked for information on budgets, service cuts and reductions in CAMHS posts. Of the 55 who responded, more than half (29) said they had cut their budgets for children and young people’s mental health services for 2011/2012.
The biggest reductions was in councils, with some reporting cuts of up to 30%, leaving essential early intervention services at risk.
YoungMinds continues to campaign to urge councils and Councils and NHS commissioners to prioritise funding for comprehensive CAMHS services. For more information about our campaign read more here.
If you have got a story about cuts to services or have experienced cuts, get in touch.