The Mental Health Taskforce

So, this week sees the coalition launch their ‘Mental Health Taskforce’, tasked with finally giving this enormous issue some much-needed focus. As to how successful this will ultimately be, only time will tell. However it is cause for some optimism!

mental-health-taskforceThe team will include the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt, Home Secretary Theresa May, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, Business Secretary Vince Cable, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and ministers from Education, Health and Defence.

In an environment where cuts are being made to vital services left, right and centre it is hard to see how services will be maintained, let alone improved, however a focus on these issues is welcome in any format.

They aim to meet within the coming days, armed with a mandate covering

  • how mental health services for young people be improved
  • how people can be helped back into work
  • how crisis care can be improved
  • how can the numbers of people with severe mental health problems ending up in police cells and prisons be reduced

Some statistics published by the include:

  • 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year
  • 3 children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health condition
  • only a quarter of people with a common mental health problem get treatment, mostly in the form of medication
  • 90% of prisoners have at least one mental health disorder, including personality disorder, psychosis, neurosis, alcohol misuse and drug dependence
  • 2.3 million people with a mental health condition are out of work and mental health conditions are the primary reason for claiming health related benefits
  • mental illness costs the country as much as £100 billion each year through lost working days, benefits and treating preventable illness
  • the most common mental health problem is depression which is experienced by 8 to 12% of the population

I will, of course, be available to assist the taskforce should they pick up the phone!