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NHS England and the Government must provide ‘adequate funding and staffing’ to expand and improve mental health services in primary care, the Centre for Mental Health has said.
This should include placing mental health practitioners in PCNs and ensuring social prescribing initiatives are in place to provide ‘a wider range of options for people’.
In its new report – A Mentally Healthier Nation, published today (27 September) – the Centre called for better care for people whose mental health needs are deemed ‘too severe’ for intervention in general practice but do not meet the threshold for secondary care support.
This should include people with complex traumas and those with co-occurring substance use or physical health conditions, with better training needed for GPs on the relationship between alcohol and poor mental health.
The report said: ‘This major gap in service provision should be closed either through the funding and commissioning of new services or the expansion of existing services.’
Key recommendations also include:
The Centre also emphasised the need for a 10-year mental health plan which should ensure:
Chief executive of the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network, Sean Duggan, said: ‘Health leaders will look to this report from the mental health sector as vital because it sets out a plan on how to improve support, but also how to prevent mental ill health and tackle inequalities.’
He added: ‘Mental health leaders also stress the need for a cross government response to address the wider determinants of mental health that increase the risk of people developing mental ill health; and the need to invest in preventative approaches to improve people’s mental health and wellbeing.’
Mr Duggan also said: ‘Implementing the recommendations of this report are crucial, as well as bringing in the access and waiting time standards and Mental Health Act reforms and addressing the health inequalities of those groups of people who are at a higher risk of developing mental health problems.
‘By reducing the number of people developing mental health issues in the first place, we can ensure those who require help receive the mental health support they need. On the flip side, a continued lack of investment in mental health services means a crisis for the whole NHS.’
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