Responding to the Spending Review, the Mental Health Foundation said public spending must help to protect people from becoming so distressed they need mental health services – and that the government has some way to go on this.
“In the run-up to the Spending Review, the government publicised spending on mental health services,” said Lucy Thorpe, Head of Policy at the Mental Health Foundation. “Extra spending on services is very welcome.
“However, better funding is also needed for the preventive mental health work in our communities that can stop people reaching the point of crisis, especially as we repair our society after the pandemic.
“This isn’t always called ‘mental health money’, but it can include investment in health visitors’ support for families, community work to help people support and connect with each other, good housing and green spaces.
“We urge the government to capitalise on the mental health opportunities arising from the job ‘restart scheme’ and local ‘levelling up’ fund announced today.
“The government’s Spending Review decision to maintain but not increase the public health grant to local authorities suggests that ministers have yet to fully understand how preventing mental health problems benefits people and public finances alike.”
She added: "Like others, we will be studying the detail of the Spending Review over the next few days and weeks - and making clear where and how the government can do more to protect and promote people’s mental health.
“If this does not happen, then we are storing up bigger problems and bigger service costs for the future. Above all, people need help early. We need the government to create the conditions in our lives and communities that support good mental health”.
Ms Thorpe also noted that the Public Health Grant was reduced year on year from 2015 until some uplift this year. “Analysts have estimated that £1bn is needed to restore the grant to its value five years ago,” she said.
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The Mental Health Foundation: Our vision is of good mental health for all. The Mental Health Foundation works to prevent mental health problems. We will drive change towards a mentally healthy society for all, and support communities, families and individuals to lead mentally healthy lives with a particular focus on those at greatest risk. The Foundation is the home of Mental Health Awareness Week and has developed a dedicated Covid19 resources hub.