In his Autumn 2015 statement, the Chancellor pledges to spend £600m on mental health. Out comes the fan fare and heaps and loads of praise for him and his party on tackling the current unacceptable under funded mental health situation in England.
Let us, for a moment, step back and open the history books and look at mental health funding in England since 2010; the time when George Osborne, our Chancellor took office.
Funding for NHS trusts to provide mental health services has fallen by more than 8% in real terms since 2010, according to research by Community Care and BBC News. Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from 43 mental health trusts in England show that total funding for the trusts’ mental health services dropped in real terms by 8.25 per cent, or almost £600m (once inflation has been accounted for). Now, after a reality check has been taken of the situation should we still be showering the Chancellor with praise for his generosity?.
In real terms, the Chancellor has been cutting funding to the most vulnerable persons in society, the mentally ill by £600m over the last 5 years and now we expect them to be thankful that he's giving it back. What sort of society do we live in where we make the most vulnerable suffer by not providing adequate services for them?. All that the Chancellor has done is to put mental health in England back to where it was in 2010 when he became chancellor and society should be grateful for this?.
Gym In Motion provides fitness programs to persons struggling with mental health illness. What we've seen over the past 5 years is the impact that the taking of £600m in cuts from the mental health services has had on the most vulnerable in society. Front line services being strained to their maximum, long waiting lines to access therapy while the majority of people with mental health issues just don't get any help at all. Society is denying these vulnerable people assistance in the name of saving money. Not only have I experienced this from a supplier's point of view, but from first hand experience as I have a number family members who suffer or have suffered with mental health illness over the years. No where, has any government minister, employee or consultant, looked behind the scenes and seen that by denying services to a person with a mental health illness, in most cases causes their mental state of mind to worsen and so they spiral into deteriation.
These are the consequences that are just brushed under the carpet, the consequences that aren't mentioned at dinner parties for they force society to take note of their actions which is not a pretty sight.
Somehow, I don't think that those with a mental health illness will be heralding our Chancellor for giving back to the mental health services, what was rightly there's in the first place. If I'm a cynical person, I'd say that this whole announcement was just for our Chancellor and government of the day to get brownie points and be seen to do something about a dire situation which they created in the first place. The uninformed will be thankful, the informed will not be amused.