Today is World Mental Health Day. Although we have made great strides in removing the stigma around mental health, we still need days like today to raise awareness and to say it’s okay not to be okay.
One in four of us will experience mental health problems this year alone. If someone says they’re fine, they might not be. I’m sure we all know someone who has suffered from or is currently experiencing mental health problems. Following the birth of my fourth child, I suffered from a mild form of postnatal depression myself. Mental health problems don’t discriminate, no matter how strong we think we are.
As awareness of mental health problems grow, and more people come forward to ask for help and support, we need to see mental health services keep up with the increase in demand too.
Government spending on mental health increased to a planned £11.86billion in 2017/18. In February 2016, an independent Mental Health Taskforce published a new national strategy, setting out an ambitious vision for mental health services. To make these recommendations a reality, the Government will spend an additional £1billion on mental health by 2020-21 so that people receive the right care in the right place when they need it most. This includes increasing the number of people completing talking therapies by 600,000 per year, and helping 20,000 more people to find or stay in work through individual placement support and talking therapies. To help meet these ambitions, the Government is increasing the number of Mental Health professionals in the NHS by 21,000.
The Government is also making £1.4 billion available in order to transform services for children and young people and enable an additional 70,000 children and young people a year to receive access to specialist mental health service by 2020/21.
I will continue to lobby the Government for more spending on mental health services and support, as well as ensuring it remains at the top of their agenda.
If you’re worried about someone, the charity Time to Change is encouraging people to ask twice. That simple act can show you’re willing to hear the response – whether that’s now or when someone’s ready. For more information on mental health support, please visit: www.time-to-change.org.uk/asktwice.