World Mental Health Day: new £15 million programme announced

Today is World Mental Health Day and the Government has announced a new £15 million programme will see up to 1 million people trained in basic mental health “first aid” skills. The programme will improve personal resilience and help people recognise and respond effectively to signs of mental illness in others.

The campaign, designed and delivered by Public Health England, will help people assess their own mental wellbeing and learn techniques to reduce stress.

Following the introduction of mental health training for teachers in secondary schools, Councillor Paul Hayes said: "These are skills for life, as most of us will at some point either experience poor mental health or care for a loved one trying to cope. The campaign will aim to build resilience and give people advice, based on what has been shown to work, so that we can all be better at supporting people experiencing poor mental health.

"As part of our commitment to tackling mental health challenges, we will make sure that work coaches have the training they need to support people with mental health conditions. We are also confirming that those people who have severe lifetime health issues do not need to be reassessed." 

Conservative action on mental health:

  • The Government is investing more in mental health than ever before – spending an estimated £11.4 billion in 2016-2017. There are 120,000 more people getting specialist mental health treatment this year than 3 years ago, including over 20,000 more children and young people.
  • Recruiting 21,000 new mental health workers in England to properly integrate mental and physical health services. All major specialisms will see an expansion in numbers, with the plan targeting areas where there are forecast to be particular shortfalls as demand on services increase. Child and adolescent services will see 2,000 additional nurses, consultants and therapists, while 2,900 extra therapists and other health professionals will be involved in adult talking therapies. 4,800 posts will be added in crisis care settings.
  • Introducing waiting time standards so people get treatment for mental health conditions sooner. We introduced the first access and waiting standards for mental health services and those standards are being met
  • Improved mental health training for work coaches.  Work has often been seen as a problem for those with mental health conditions - whereas the reality is that it is often part of the solution.  We are ensuring that our Jobcentre workcoaches are trained to meet the specialised needs of people with mental health conditions – to ensure they are best-placed to benefit from Universal Credit and most able to meet their potential.
  • Mandatory reassessments are being scrapped for those with the most severe lifelong health conditions and disabilities on Employment Support Allowance and Universal Credit.

Labour's record:

  • Failed to introduce maximum waiting times for mental health services. We introduced the first access and waiting standards for mental health services so people get treatment for mental health conditions sooner and those standards are being met.
  • Introduced Work Capability Assessments because Incapacity Benefit was not working for those people that became trapped on it.  Labour wanted to get 1 million people off incapacity benefit.  John Hutton: ‘getting 1 million people off incapacity benefit…is the right objective for us to have’.
  • Conservatives are spending nearly £50 billion supporting the sick and disabled, more than in any year under the last Labour government.