Across society, we see the general understanding of good mental health and wellbeing widen and deepen. In the past, many people were unwilling or unable to discuss their mental ill health and seek appropriate support and treatment, but that is changing rapidly.
We know that ensuring good health, both physical and mental, is not just the job of health services alone. All of our public services need to support mental health and wellbeing, including Local Government services, schools, colleges and universities, midwives, health visitors, General Practitioners, and other primary care workers. They all have a role to play, alongside specialist services, to provide help and treatment when it is needed. We need a modern, fit-for-purpose NHS and integrated health and social care landscape, focused on prevention and speedy treatment, and supported by the wider public sector.
We know that, across all child and adult services, including Health and Social Care Partnerships, changing the location and nature of services and support requires the capacity of the workforce to be developed. This means giving staff across all sectors the skills and confidence to ensure they are sensitive and responsive to emerging needs and ways of delivering services.
At the same time, we know that the workforce must grow. For example, since 2006 there has been a 57% increase in overall staff in post in Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to 1,030 (working time equivalent, as of this September). The workforce is continuing to expand.
We are committing significant investment to delivering an additional 800 mental health workers by 2021/22, in partnership with Integration Authorities, NHS Boards, Local Authorities and other key sectors. We must also strengthen how the wider public sector workforce can support people with their mental health and wellbeing.
Mental health is just as important as physical health, and we recognise that existing support is not good enough. People affected by mental health issues have the same rights as everyone else – embedding human rights in policy development and delivery is key to change. We are clear that in order to meet our rights obligations, including those under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, reform is needed.
The Programme for Government sets out a range of actions to change this. This Delivery Plan describes how we will implement these actions under key headings:
- reforming children and young people's mental health services;
- improving specialist services for children and young people and adults;
- taking a 21st century approach to adult mental health;
- respecting, protecting and fulfilling rights; and
- making suicide prevention everybody's business.
This plan is complemented by the Children and Young People's Mental Health Taskforce delivery plan, which is also published on 19 December. Details of how we will deliver the Suicide Prevention Plan will be set out shortly as well.
Email: Phil Raines