Data obtained by the charity, Mind has revealed that councils in England are spending on average, just 1% of their public health budgets on tacking mental health problems. More worryingly, some have even suggested that they don’t intend on spending any money on mental health whatsoever.
Following the results of the survey, Mind has estimated that just under £40 million will be spent by local authorities on mental health in 2015-16. Although this may sound like a lot of money, when compared to funding on other health issues, it’s miniscule.
Over the same period of time, £664 million will be spent on sexual health, £160 million on measures to stop smoking, £111 million on tacking obesity and £96 million on promoting the importance of physical activity.
The £40 million said to be spent on mental health isn’t entirely accurate either because sexual health, obesity and smoking prevention are in their own clearly defined categories whereas mental health spending is grouped with 14 other areas under ‘miscellaneous’.
Mind is now calling for ministers to ensure that local authorities are doing more to prioritise mental health. The Chief Executive of the charity, Paul Farmer commented:
“Our research suggests that the current spend on public mental health initiatives is negligible. The fact that local authorities’ public health teams are allowed to file mental health under ‘miscellaneous’ when reporting on it perhaps explains why. It sends a message that mental health is not seen as important and not a priority for investment.”
He went on to assert that while one in four people will experience a mental health problem every year, that many cases could be prevented through targeted programmes aimed at high risk individuals including pregnant women, those who are isolated and those living with a long-term physical health problem.
If you think that you or someone you know could be experiencing any mental health issues, please feel free to contact Life Works in the strictest of confidence and we will be more than happy to help.