Over six million people are currently diagnosed with depression in the UK, with one in five people waiting over a year for access to talking therapies.
The overall economic cost of mental ill-health is thought to be more than £75 billion per year, making it an easy target for spending cuts.
A Labour Party spokesman has criticised the coalition’s ‘no physical health without mental health’ pledge by saying: “The government’s talk about the importance of mental health has come to nothing. Ministers simply aren’t putting their money where their mouth is and vulnerable people will pay the price when crucial services are hit.”
Prime Minister David Cameron has cut the NHS budget for two years running now, something that has inevitably made a huge dent in mental health spending and resulted in thousands of jobs and treatments being axed.
The Department of Health defends the drop by stating it reflects the fact that it is tackling mental ill-health before people need serious and costly treatment.
Investment in psychological therapy has doubled over the last three years from £197 million to £386 million, enabling mild sufferers to receive treatment before further problems develop. This reduces hospital admissions and delivers long-term savings. Investment in memory assessment services has also increased, allowing professionals to catch signs of dementia early on.
A Department of Health spokesman has admitted the need for continued improvement to the commissioning of mental health services. They are currently analysing options for restructuring local services to improve the mental health and wellbeing of people living within communities.
If you would like to find out more about therapies available to treat mental ill-health, please visit our Psychological Therapies section.
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