£2bn to be allocated for mental health in Hammond Budget boost

Mental health services in England will receive an injection of £2bn as part of Philip Hammond’s Budget to be announced today.

Some of the funding will go towards dedicated vehicles designed to treat people with conditions such as PTSD, depression and anxiety, as the government looks to get a foothold in what is a growing crisis—particularly for young people— in the country.

Mental health support will also be available around the clock in every A&E department in England, and schools will receive individual crisis teams to support pupils with mental health problems.

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC this morning: “We know that we need to get mental health services on the same level as physical health services. We know that there’s an increase in prominence of mental health illness at schools, particularly with teenage girls, so every school will have teams supporting pupils.”

Around 55,000 adults with severe mental illnesses will be able to access a new work placement scheme to find jobs through the NHS, the chancellor will announce.

Hancock added: “There’s also a significant challenge that people with some of the most serious mental health illnesses will receive dedicated support and attention from this. In the past there’s been a stigma about mental illness, and I think as a society we are coming through that.”

Many were concerned that the deal resulting from UK’s departure from the EU would impact the allocation of the funding— Hammond said that a no-deal Brexit would require a new Budget— but Hancock quelled concerns, arguing the money is “not contingent” on the Brexit deal.

“This money is not contingent on the Brexit deal that we get—this money will happen whatever the result as the NHS needs it,” he said.

It is also expected to be announced that the funding will go towards community services for residents with mental health issues, social services and young people’s mental health services.

Chief executive of NHS Providers Chris Hopson said: “The chancellor has sent a welcome signal about the priority to be given to mental health within the NHS funding allocation that was announced during the summer, but we will need more detail before we can assess the likely impact on progress towards parity of esteem with physical health.

“And while it is absolutely right to highlight the importance of strengthening mental health services, it is also important to recognise that this will need to be balanced against other priorities in arriving at a long term plan that is realistic and can command the support of the NHS frontline.”

Earlier this month, the NHS was criticised by the National Audit Office for failing to meet the growing demand for mental health services for children and young people, with only a quarter being able to access the support they need.

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