English mental health trusts have had their funding cut by over 2% in real terms over the past two years alone.
The BBC has received data from 43 mental health trusts through a Freedom of Information request. Data separate from this has also revealed that referrals to crisis and community mental health teams have risen by 16% in the same time period.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists is warning that mental health services are near breaking point.
Care & Support Minister, Norman Lamb said: “It is completely unacceptable for local commissioners to disadvantage mental health in the allocation of funds to local health services. This completely conflicts with the government’s clear position that there must be parity of esteem – equality – between mental and physical health. This must be a priority for NHS England to address.”
When comparing the total 2011/12 budgets with that for this year, 2013/14 there was a reduction 2.36% in real terms; and many are expecting further cuts over the next year.
Professor Sue Bailey, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “Even small cuts at this time can have a disproportionately large effect on the welfare of our patients. The services are stretched to their limit and if they stretch any further, the elastic band is going to snap.”
“Mind hears all the time from people who have lost the community health care that was helping them to cope and who now find themselves unable to get through to their local crisis team,” said Paul Farmer, from the mental health charity Mind. “They feel ‘fobbed off’ when they do, because there simply aren’t enough staff to cope with the numbers of people in desperate need of help.”
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