Spending on public mental health services is too low says charity
Charity Mind has said that local authorities in England spend an “unacceptably low” amount of money on public mental health.
A report by Mind has found that on average only 1.4% of public health budgets is spent on mental health, reports the BBC.
The Local Government Association has said councils did many positive things which the report has not recognised.
Of the 152 local authorities in England, 87 replied to Mind’s freedom of information requests about public mental health budgets.
According to the report, local authorities plan to spend £76m on increasing physical activity, £160m on anti-smoking initiatives and £671m on sexual health services in 2014/15, however just £40m is planned on public mental health.
Mind chief executive Paul Farmer said: “Mind’s findings show that while local authorities are happy to spend on preventing physical health problems, their equivalent spending on mental health is unacceptably low. Local authorities need much clearer guidance and support on how best to tackle mental health problems. We want the next government to introduce a national strategy to ensure local authorities know what to do and use their budgets to prevent mental health problems developing.”
Councillor Izzi Seccombe of the Local Government Association said: “While we welcome a discussion about public mental health, we think the focus of this report is too narrow. There are many things that councils do that impact positively on mental health but might not come with a mental health ‘badge’. We would support the development of a national strategy that gives greater attention and focus to promoting mental health but would caution against any approach which dictates to local authorities and public health teams how to use their health promotion budgets.”
Gregory Henderson of Public Health England said: “PHE welcomes this important report as it clearly underlines the need for more local investment in improving the public’s mental health. The old adage ‘prevention is better than cure’ is also very much true for mental health and more needs to be done to help individuals, families and communities maintain and gain good mental health. There is good evidence on what local areas should be investing in and PHE is working in partnership to develop a national approach.”
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