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January 11, 2016

UK to invest £1bn in mental health services

UK prime minister David Cameron has announced the government is investing £1bn on improving mental health services across the country.

UK prime minister David Cameron has announced the government is investing £1bn on improving mental health services across the country.

Out of the total investment, more than £400m is being set aside to help secure 24-hour treatment for mental health patients in the community, as a safe and effective alternative to a hospital.

According to the UK Department of Health (DH), crisis resolution and home treatment teams have been deployed across England as part of a transformation of the community mental healthcare system. The additional funds will ensure complete coverage around the country.

NHS England taskforce on Mental Health independent chair Paul Farmer said: "This is a significant moment for mental health and we are pleased to see the prime minister giving it the attention it deserves.

"Mental health is hugely important in any discussion about improving life chances and mental health problems can affect anyone, from mums-to-be preparing for their first child to older people at risk of isolation."

As part of the investment, £290m will be used to improve the care of expectant or new mothers with mental health issues, giving at least 30,000 more women each year access to specialist mental healthcare before and after having their baby.

"For both the public and the NHS, improving mental health has rightly now shot up our national ‘to do’ list."

Over the next five years, £247m will be invested to ensure mental health services are available in every emergency department and that they are accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in at least half of England’s acute hospitals by 2020.

DH noted that people with mental health problems are three times more likely to turn up at accident and emergency (A&E) department than those without.

The funding will improve the care of those with mental illness in A&E as well as generate important savings for hospitals through fewer admissions and shorter stays.

Furthermore, services to help teenagers with eating disorders such as anorexia, which kills more people than any other mental health condition, will also be expanded.

NHS England CEO Simon Stevens said: "For both the public and the NHS, improving mental health has rightly now shot up our national ‘to do’ list.

"A sea change in public attitudes coupled with an increasing range of effective mental health treatments mean that now is the time to tackle the huge unmet need that affects families and communities across the nation.

"Today’s measures are a critical first step, and when our independent taskforce publishes its final report in a few weeks, the whole NHS will need to mobilise to translate their wider proposals into action."

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