To achieve true parity of care between mental and physical health, we need a root and branch overhaul of mental health services, which focuses on prevention and early intervention, particularly for children and young people.
Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement today on prevention and mental health, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“Good mental health and wellbeing is essential for all of our communities and we are pleased to see the recognition of prevention and early intervention as part of a joined-up approach to this.
"Councils already make a significant contribution to the mental wellbeing of their local communities through providing libraries, parks and leisure centres which help to improve people’s general mental wellbeing, as well as helping people to live fulfilling lives beyond diagnosis and treatment. This is in addition to commissioning services such as supported housing, substance and alcohol abuse and money advice, that help people in vulnerable circumstances.
“The extra funding announced to strengthen and deliver local suicide prevention plans is a clear endorsement of councils’ locally-driven approach and a recognition that by working together and supporting one another, we can reduce rates of suicide and save lives.
“It is also important that the commitment to overhaul the Mental Health Act is matched by a commitment to invest more in the community mental health services which prevent people from reaching crisis point in the first place and support people to recover.
“Equally, councils also play an important part in supporting children’s mental health, but we must change the emphasis away from treating children once they are ill to helping them and their families cope with the challenges they face.
“We support plans by the Government to train teachers and social workers in spotting signs of mental ill-health, as well as the new mental health units that schools can refer to. However, we still need on-site school counselling services in every school and increased investment in the school nurse workforce, as this would help ensure children can access the support as early as they need without being turned away, as well as reduce overall demand on specialist services.
"However to achieve true parity of care between mental and physical health, we need a root and branch overhaul of mental health services, which focuses on prevention and early intervention, particularly for children and young people.
“Councils are keen to work with the Government to help improve the mental wellbeing of all of our communities. With local government facing an overall funding gap of £8 billion by 2025, councils need adequate funding for the full range of services, such as housing, leisure, social services and public health, which contribute to mental wellness and play an essential part in the mental health system.”
Notes to editors
- Councils in England face an overall funding gap of £8 billion by 2025. The LGA’s #CouncilsCan campaign aims to influence the forthcoming Spending Review and highlight the growing risk to vital local services if the Government does not take action to secure the financial sustainability of councils. Visit our campaign page for more information
- The LGA and the Association of Directors of Public Health have been awarded £600,000 in sector-led improvement (SLI) funding to help reduce and prevent incidents of suicide in their communities, by helping councils share best practice, advice and support.
#CouncilsCan: Spending Review 2019
With the right funding and powers, councils can continue to lead local areas, improve residents’ lives, reduce demand for public services and save money for the taxpayer. Securing the financial sustainability of local services must be the top priority for the Spending Review.