Mental Health

Health written question – answered on 12th June 2014.

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Photo of David Simpson David Simpson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent progress he has made on ensuring that mental health has equal standing with physical health.

Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb The Minister of State, Department of Health

Mental health has been a priority for this Government for several years now. We made this commitment explicit in the Health and Social Care Act 2012 which, for the first time, creates equal status for mental and physical health across Government and for the NHS and social care.

The Ministerial Advisory Group brings together individuals and organisations with a specific interest in the cross government mental health strategy “No Health Without Mental Health” and how it is delivered.

The Mandate to NHS England 2014-15 makes clear that 'everyone who needs it should have timely access to evidence-based services', this will involve extending and ensuring more open access to programmes, in particular for children and young people, and for those out of work.

Closing the Gap”, our new mental health action plan, which has attracted widespread, cross-sector support, sets out our priorities for essential change in mental health, 25 areas where people can expect to see and experience the fastest changes. The document challenges the health and social care community to move further and faster to transform care and support; the public health community, alongside local government, to give health and wellbeing promotion and prevention the long-overdue attention it needs and deserves; and individuals and communities to shift attitudes in mental health.

The Department of Health is leading an information revolution around mental health. The new national Mental Health Intelligence Network will draw together comprehensive information about mental health and wellbeing.

The new Crisis Care Concordat, signed by more than 20 national organisations, is a commitment for all agencies involved in supporting someone in a crisis to work together to improve the system of care and support so people in crisis are kept safe and helped to find the support they need. All the signatories have pledged to work together and our expectation is that, in every locality in England, local partnerships of health, criminal justice and local authority agencies will agree and commit to local Mental Health Crisis Declarations.

System partners are also taking responsibility for the drive for parity. Public Health England (PHE) has made a commitment to addressing parity of esteem through prioritising mental health and working to embed it throughout all PHE programmes. Greater attention is needed to mental health throughout the public health system and PHE seeks to enable and support this through its leadership and delivery of a Wellbeing and Mental Health programme. It is supporting local authorities and other partners to give greater attention to mental health within the public health system.

PHE was established on 1 April 2013 with the mission to protect and improve the nation's health and to address inequalities through working with national and local government, the NHS, industry and the voluntary and community sector. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health.

PHE has made a commitment to addressing parity of esteem through prioritising mental health and working to embed it throughout all its programmes. Greater attention is needed to mental health throughout the public health system and PHE seeks to enable and support this through its leadership and delivery of a Wellbeing and Mental Health programme. It is supporting local authorities and other partners to give greater attention to mental health within the public health system.

Their approach centres on the following five main objectives:

1. Promoting good mental health and improving population wellbeing;

2. Preventing mental health problems and preventing suicide and self-harm;

3. Supporting people living with and recovering from mental illness;

4. Tackling inequalities and improving the wider determinants of wellbeing and mental health; and

5. Enabling and embedding wellbeing and mental health across the public health system.

PHE has embraced the principles of Parity of Esteem and from the outset and all through transition, there has been a commitment by PHE to ensure mental health is a core part of the new public health system and PHE's work. Even though there was no central national resource attached to mental health to be transferred into PHE, they have invested in establishing a presence for mental health across their work and they continue to embed population mental health and wellbeing across public health.

Health Education England is developing training programmes that will enable all healthcare employers to ensure that their staff have a greater awareness of mental health problems and how they may affect their patients. This will include understanding the links between patient's physical and mental health, so that staff know what actions they can take to ensure that patients receive appropriate support for both their mental and physical health care needs.

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