Government ‘all talk’ on young people’s mental health, says city MP on World Mental Health Day

National Audit Office says current mental health programme insufficient to meet need amongst young people

Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, marked World Mental Health Day by calling for the Government to ‘put their money where their mouth is’ on young people’s mental health.

Earlier this year the NAO said that even if current initiatives are delivered as intended, there would remain significant unmet need for mental health services amongst young people.

Stephen has held a number of mental health ‘sofa chats’ with local mental health organisations to discuss how they can work together to support people struggling with mental issues in Portsmouth.

Slow progress on increasing the mental health workforce in England by 40% (4,500 staff) is emerging as a major risk and what’s worse is that there is currently no data available to monitor any increase.

In March 2018, local areas were only planning to recruit 3,410 NHS staff by 2020-21. This means that to meet the original ambitions a quarter of new posts would need to come from outside the NHS, but local areas have not yet estimated how many non-NHS staff they will need.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“This Government talks a lot about mental health, but their actions speak far louder than their words.

For the Tories, parity of esteem between physical and mental health services has become nothing more than a catchphrase.

Young people in our city and across the country are relying on meaningful change, but as the NAO says, the Government are well behind on delivering it.”

Labour’s Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Barbara Keeley MP, said:

“The NAO report is more resounding proof that this Tory Government is failing a generation of children and young people who have mental health conditions.

The report has laid bare many abject failures of this Government to deliver properly funded mental health services to give children and young people treatment when they need it. The NHS is haemorrhaging staff and there is complete lack of transparency over vital data on children’s mental health.

Tinkering around the edges with an unambitious Green Paper will not do. The Tories must follow Labour’s lead and commit to increasing spending on children and young people’s mental health services, ring-fencing budgets and offering access to a counselling service in every secondary school as a minimum to give our children and young people the mental health support they need.”