Thank you for contacting me about mental health.
I agree that tackling poor mental health must be a priority and Ministers have legislated to treat it with the same importance as physical health. Progress is being made with more Government investment in mental health and an estimated 1,400 more people accessing mental health services every day compared to 2010 – up 40 per cent, as well as around 750,000 more people accessing talking therapies since 2009/10.
The Government has also introduced the first-ever mental health access and waiting time standards, so that 75 per cent of people referred for talking therapies to treat common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety start their treatment within 6 weeks, and 95 per cent within 18 weeks. These targets have been met and the latest data shows that in May 2016, 84 per cent of people waited less than 6 weeks and 97 per cent of people waited less than 18 weeks. Also, patients experiencing psychosis for the first time must be treated within two weeks.
I appreciate the concerns raised by the Private Member’s Bill, sponsored by Steve Reed MP, the Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill. I hope you are assured by the announcement of the independent review into the Mental Health Act. This review will specifically address issues regarding detention, and how recent practice can be out of step with a modern mental health system which must be responsive to the needs of service users and families. As I understand, the Government expects some of the solutions to lie in practice, leadership, and culture, as well as potentially legislation.
Thank you again for getting in touch.