There has been a lot of talk over the past few days over Theresa May’s speech about Mental Health reforms where she pledged about new initiatives to help those with mental health problems.
Having a look through her speech it seems like most of her initiatives seem to focus on younger people, once again leaving those over the age of twenty odd left to fend for themselves with services that have been slashed over and over again thanks to budget cuts by the Tory government. Theresa May also promised to take action to tackle the ‘stigma’ around mental health, I’m sorry? Stigma? I’ll rather take the funding.
There are positives from her speech however. She pledged new support in schools such as Mental Health First Aid Training and closer links with schools and CAMHS. I do welcome these seeing that according to studies half of mental health problems start by the age of 14 and 75% by 18. She also said that by 2021, no child will be sent away from their local area to receive treatment for mental health issues. This will be an interesting one to watch seeing that it’s quite common knowledge that children being admitted to hospital can sometimes be sent up to 300 miles away from their home. Again what funding is in place to make this happen? The £220 million promised by David Cameron still hasn’t filtered down to front line services as many services are using it to fund other services.
How ever research conducted by the Education Policy Institute Independent Commission on Children and Young People’s Mental Health in November found that a quarter of young people seeking mental health care are turned away by specialist services because of a lack of resources and that waiting times for treatment in many areas are also incredibly long. Which again is a funding issue.
Also in the speech, Therese May announced that just an extra £15m is to be pledged for creating more places of safety. This works out to be about £23,000 per parliamentary constituency. Which in the scheme of things isn’t a lot at all.
She also talked about Digitally assisted therapy. So treatment provided over the internet such as Scotland’s ‘Mind the Blues’ in what seems like an attempt to make overstretched services go even further. Maybe Therese May would like to introduce my Crisis Team Chat Bot?