The prime minister has announced a package of measures aimed at tackling mental health problems.
Speaking at the annual Charity Commission lecture, Theresa May unveiled a comprehensive package of reforms designed to improve mental health support at every stage of a person’s life – with an emphasis on early intervention for children and young people.
Ms May said: “What I am announcing are the first steps in our plan to transform the way we deal with mental illness in this country at every stage of a person’s life: not in our hospitals, but in our classrooms, at work and in our communities.
“This starts with ensuring that children and young people get the help and support they need and deserve – because we know that mental illness too often starts in childhood and that when left untreated, can blight lives, and become entrenched.
“This is a historic opportunity to right a wrong, and give people deserving of compassion and support the attention and treatment they deserve. And for all of us to change the way we view mental illness so that striving to improve mental wellbeing is seen as just as natural, positive and good as striving to improve our physical wellbeing.”
The package of reforms include:
- Mental health training in each secondary school
- New trials to look at how to strengthen the links between schools and local NHS mental health staff
- A major thematic review of children and adolescent mental health services across the country, led by the Care Quality Commission
- A new green paper on children and young people’s mental health to set out plans to transform services in schools, universities and for families
- A review on how best to ensure employees with mental health problems are enabled to thrive in the workplace
- Other alternatives to hospital to support people in the community
- Plans to rapidly expand treatment by investing in and expanding digital mental health services.
- A formal review of the mental health debt form.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of the mental health charity, Mind, said: “We welcome the announcements around a focus on prevention in schools and workplaces and support for people in crisis. The proof will be in the difference it makes to the day-to-day experience of the 1 in 4 who will experience a mental health problem this year. Mental health is everyone’s business and we need to see sustained leadership to make sure services and support improve for all of us with mental health problems. Having been neglected for decades, we need to see it made a priority for decades to come to make sure everyone with mental health problems can live the life they want to lead.”