Mental Health Charity Criticises East Midlands Funding

9 November 2015, 16:56 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

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A mental health charity has revealed just how little local authorities are spending on mental health services in the area.

Mental Health charity MIND has told Capital that they received data from seven out of the nine local authorities in the East Midlands. In 2014/15 these authorities spent on average just £125k each, or less than 0.5% of their total public health budget on mental health. This is less than the national average.

The total for across the region is £875,224, £125,032 on average (0.45%).

The charity reported that Derby City Council and Derbyshire County Council didn't reply to their Freedom of Information Requests regarding this information.

MIND says that local authorities are required by the Department of Health to report on their public health spending against a set list of categories, including sexual health services, obesity and stop smoking services.  The mental health charity found that any spending on public mental health is reported under ‘miscellaneous’, grouped together with 14 other areas. MIND argues that this undermines the Government’s commitment to giving mental health equality with physical health.

Capital spoke with Jeff Hayes from the charity.  He revealed what needs to improve in order to get mental health to be taken more seriously.

 Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said:

“Our research shows that the current spend on public mental health initiatives is negligible. The fact that local authorities’ public health teams are allowed to file mental health under ‘Miscellaneous’ when reporting on it perhaps explains why. It sends a message that mental health is not seen as important and not a priority for investment.

“It is not acceptable that such a small amount of the public health purse goes on preventing mental health problems. One in four people will experience a mental health problem every year, yet so much of this could be prevented by targeted programmes aimed at groups we know to be at risk, such as pregnant women, people who are isolated, or those living with a long term physical health problem.”

"Having a mental health problem can impact on all aspects of our lives, from our relationships and work to our physical health. The personal costs are immeasurable, and the wider economic cost is huge. Prevention is always better than cure and ignoring the problem simply doesn’t make sense. We need local authorities to use their budgets to help people in their communities stay mentally healthy and reduce the chances of them becoming unwell.”