Mental health care overhaul pledged by PM

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Plans to tackle the “hidden injustice” and stigma of mental illness have been revealed by Theresa May.

Additional training for teachers, an extra £15m for community care, and a £67.7m investment into online services such as self-checks were among measures announced by the prime minister.

Mental health experts said more funding was needed to improve services.

Mrs May’s speech comes as she outlined her plans to use the state to create a “shared society”.

She promised to “transform” attitudes to mental health problems with a focus on children and young people.

The government says that, at any time, one in four people has a mental disorder, with an annual cost of £105bn, and that young people are affected disproportionately.

In the speech at the Charity Commission, Mrs May announced:

  • Every secondary school to be offered mental health first aid training
  • Trials on strengthening links between schools and NHS specialist staff, including a review of children and adolescent services across the country, led by the Care Quality Commission
  • By 2021, no child will be sent away from their local area to receive treatment for mental health issues
  • Appointing mental health campaigner Lord Stevenson and Paul Farmer, chief executive of the charity Mind, to carry out a review on improving support in the workplace
  • Employers and organisations will be given additional training in supporting staff who need to take time off
  • More focus on community care, with an extra £15m towards this, and less emphasis on patients visiting GPs and A&E
  • The reallocation of £67.7m, mostly from the existing NHS digitisation fund, for online services, such as allowing symptom checks before getting a face-to-face appointment
  • A review of the “health debt form”, under which patients are charged up to £300 by a GP for documentation to prove to debt collectors that they have mental health issues

Mrs May said that mental health had been “dangerously disregarded” as secondary to physical health and changing that will go “right to the heart of our humanity”.

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