Headlines: January 21st, 2014

A mental health action plan has been launched to ensure equality for mental health and increase access to the best-possible support and treatment. It sets out 25 areas where immediate action is being taken.

The plan is a call to the NHS the mental health sector and to the wider society to champion change, to transform outdated attitudes and practices and to improve the lives of people with mental health problems.

It includes better care and support for young people. In Britain, 1 in 10 children aged between 5 and 16 have diagnosable mental health problems. These young people often fall behind at school; they lose their confidence.

There are therapies that can really help and it is intended to make them available in more areas. The aim is that by 2018, every child in England who needs this kind of care will be able to access it.

The action plan will also give greater choice and certainty to mental health patients across the board.
Mental health patients currently do not get the choice of services that are available to people with physical ailments such as hip or knee replacements. That will change, and starting from April this year people with mental health conditions will have the same legal right to choose where they go for care.

From next year clear standards on access and waiting times for mental health services will be introduced. There will also be professional help and guidance available for anyone who feels they can’t make those kinds of decisions about their care alone.

The action plan will also include measure being taken across the public sector with better support in education, employment, the justice sector, housing.

Mental health can be a barrier to people getting into or back into work and the research institute, RAND Europe, has been commissioned to come up with ideas about how better support can be give to those with mental health problems to resume work sooner.