Deputy Prime Minister announces new mental health task force

26 November 2014

Nick Clegg has announced he will be chairing a cross-governmental mental health task force which aims to establish ways of improving mental health services and crisis care across the country.

Clegg cited the cost of mental health, at £100bn a year, stating that only a quarter of people with a mental health problem currently receive treatment and that 90 per cent of prisoners have a mental health diagnosis. The task force will also aim to address mental health discrimination and ‘outdated attitudes’, reports the Guardian.

Clegg announced that the government would introduce the first waiting time standards for mental health, and cited the £400m investment to expand talking therapies. Saffron Cordery, director of policy and strategy at the Foundation Trust Network has commented to theNational Health Executive, that ‘investment in the mental health sector needs to not only meet the waiting and access targets that will be introduced next year, but also to ensure that those providing services can meet rising demand, deliver high quality care and focus on meeting all types of mental health needs’.

The charity Rethink Mental Illness has welcomed the announcement and the involvement of a range of cabinet ministers with mental health issues. The CEO Mark Winstanley has also urged the task force to take ‘urgent action’ in order to make a real difference for the millions of people affected by mental illness.

Winstanley particularly hopes to see a government focus and ‘genuine investment’ in early intervention services, improving mental health in the workplace and crisis care in the community.