Re; Young Minds Campaign.
I fully believe that mental health is just as important as physical health. Children and young people with mental health problems should be able to expect the same standards of treatment and care as someone with a physical health problem.
While this has not always been the case in the NHS, I am encouraged by the work the Government has taken to ensure future parity between mental and physical health. I know that ensuring better access to mental health services and shorter waiting times is a priority for NHS England.
The Department of Health’s commitment to improving these services is marked by the inclusion of mental health on to the new national measure of wellbeing, so it’s more likely to be taken into account when Government creates policy.
I believe the Government has taken important steps to improve mental health services across the country. The Department has invested £54 million in a dedicated programme for children and young people and established the Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Well-Being Taskforce. The Government is planning to invest £1 billion over the next five years to start new access standards for children’s mental health services. This will help over 110,000 children with mental health problems to be cared for better.
The Government is also investing £118 million by 2018-19 to complete the roll-out of the Children and Young People’s Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies programme. Looking into this issue, I was pleased to find that that overall spending on mental health has increased from £10.6 billion in 2009/10 to £11.7 billion in 2014/15. I hope this reassures you that the Government is committed to ensuring children and young people with mental health problems are cared for appropriately.