A Mind Game for Mental Health Funding
“The government is diverting money to ‘sexy’ diseases like breast cancer when it could save billions by tackling the root causes of mental health”, claims US star Ruby Wax.
“If you admit to mental illness… you will find yourself thrown out of a job”
In the Independent, Wax suggested that “If we figure out how the brain works, we wouldn’t have to spend money on over-populated prisons. Instead of new-born psychopaths, we could catch mental illness in the young. We could educate teachers to spot the signs early”.
Wax is heading to Downing Street this week to try and promote the benefits of increasing government funding for mental health services, arguing that “If you admit to mental illness in the workplace, the chances are you will find yourself thrown out of a job. It is the last taboo”.
When discussing how to combat the issues of mental health and wellbeing only last year, Julian Stanley, Group Chief Executive of Teacher Support Network, suggested that “…in the short term we, along with our colleagues, senior management teams, the Government and the teaching unions, can help by being in the best position possible to meet the current needs of all those working in the education sector today”.
The Department for health has allocated £22 million of funding to expand therapy opportunities for children and working parents, with the Health Secretary recently urging UK companies to sign up to the new Responsibility Deal, aimed at developing flexible approaches to mental health leave.
No health without mental health
In an attempt to address this issue, the government launched a new strategy only last year, entitled “No health without mental health”, which was primarily designed to recognise how patterns of mental health directly affect those seen in education, employment and the criminal justice system.
Yet, respondents to a survey conducted by the mental health charity Mind argued that “little was being done” because of the coalition’s programme of cuts and efficiency savings. Such programmes usually lead to cuts in mental health services, the charity told the Independent, leaving strategies like ‘no health without mental health’ ineffective.
Mental health support improves self-awareness
A study of more than 18,000 children across England found that embedding mental health support in schools led to greater improvements in self-reported behavioural problems among primary pupils. The Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS) programme had a 3 year budget of over £60 million and offered access in over 500 schools for the duration of the project. The findings illustrate the benefits enjoyed by young people when offered quality support and provide sound grounding for expanding the budget allocation for mental health services in the future.