How much longer will the Government continue to betray our mental health services? – My article for the Stockport Express

3797160719_337b4742e7_bNew figures unearthed by Labour show that more than half of local areas are not delivering on the Government’s mental health spending pledge, including Stockport.

In 2014 the coalition government pledged, to work towards achieving “parity” between mental and physical health access, with former Prime Minister David Cameron promising a revolution in mental health. As a result almost a billion pounds of investment was promised to improve mental health services across the country, sadly this has proven woefully inadequate.

Demands on our NHS are growing daily with hospitals and CCG’s finding it more difficult than ever to balance their budgets as Government funding has not kept up with demand.

Figures uncovered through a series of Freedom of Information requests show that 57 per cent of CCG’s across the country plan to reduce their mental health budgets this year. These same figures also reveal that Stockport CCG are already spending below the national average of 9.7% for mental health services, and intend on reducing this further to 7.85% of total spend in 2016/17.

More families are using these services than ever with almost a quarter of a million children and young people receiving direct help from NHS mental health services for problems such as anxiety, eating disorders and depression.

I’m shocked that hospitals are in the unenviable position of having to choose what services to prioritise in order to balance the books.  If we are serious about addressing the growing mental health crisis, we need to provide adequate resources for our communities to support early intervention.

If not, we risk failing a generation.

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