Mental Health Services

Department of Health written question – answered on 8th December 2014.

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Photo of Richard Burden Richard Burden Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to support local authorities in providing mental health services.

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

Early in 2014, we published our mental health action plan, Closing the gap: priorities for essential change, which sets out 25 areas for urgent action. 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.

Public Health England 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 National Health Service, industry and the voluntary and community sector. It is supporting local councils and other partners to give greater attention to mental health within the public health system.

We have called on councils to do what we are doing as a Government and give parity of esteem to mental health, which also means parity in promotion and prevention.

An increasing number of councils are seeing investment in public health as investment in both physical and mental health. This includes ensuring that all major public health programmes consider and assess the impact on mental health. Much of local council spend and responsibilities impact on mental health, for example the provision of green spaces, recreation and leisure services, cycle routes, planning decisions, housing and community safety, social care, children and families services.

Healthy Lives, Healthy People commits to ring-fencing public health funding. Local councils have statutory responsibility for improving the health and wellbeing of their populations.

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Andrew Reeves-Hall
Posted on 9 Dec 2014 9:48 am (Report this annotation)

Cycle routes?

The government spends a measley £1.27 per person per year on cycle infrastructure. The Netherlands is at £21.

To catch up, the UK must invest £3bn/year over the next 5 years. The Netherlands invests money from more than just their equivilent of the Department for Transport; they invest using Health budgets...

Installing dedicated space for cycling benefits not just those we see cycling today but would get more people with physical and mental issues moving about actively - removing the fear of cycling by having segregated routes would see many more people from 8 to 80 hop on two (or 1 or 3) wheels to get about.

Plus, note this from The Times, 13 June 2013 headline: "Going Dutch on cycling ‘could cut £1.6bn a year from health budget’"