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Mental Health

Volume 408: debated on Thursday 3 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to develop mental health treatment and support services for vulnerable groups, with particular reference to (a) women, (b) children and (c) members of minority ethnic communities; and if he will make a statement on the funding and nature of schemes (i) in operation and (ii) being developed. [121639]

Development of mental health services, as set out in the national service framework for mental health (MHNSF) and the NHS Plan is aimed at improving services for everyone including vulnerable groups.In addition, guidance is being developed for services on meeting the particular needs of women and black and minority ethnic groups. This will support the MHNSF and NHS Plan implementation and services obligations under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act.The NHS Plan provided over £300 million investment by 2003–04 to support implementation of the targets and standards set. Commissioners and services locally are developing a number of schemes and initiatives to ensure that within this the needs of vulnerable groups, such as women and people from black and minority ethnic groups, are met. The Department does not keep records centrally on these initiatives.The National Institute for Mental Health in England has been established to support services in implementing the MHNSF, NHS Plan priorities and guidance for women and black and minority ethnic groups through its equalities and black and minority ethnic mental health programmes.The Government's strategy for the development of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), initiated in 1999–2000, is ongoing with the aim of improving the overall quality and accessibility of local services for children and young people with mental health problems. In the four years ending 31 March 2003, we invested £105 million in CAMHS developments across the national health service and local authorities, which resulted in significant increases in staffing, new or expanded services and better joint working between the main providing agencies.Our objectives for the further development of CAMHS, set out in the Department's Priorities and Planning Framework 2003–06 "Improvement, Expansion and Reform", include year-on-year increases of at least 10 per cent. across the service, according to agreed local priorities, leading to a comprehensive service in all areas by 2006. These developments will be underpinned by additional central investment of some £250 million over the three years and by guidance contained in the new children's national service framework (NSF). The recently published Emerging Findings from the NSF include a chapter on the mental health and psychological well-being of children and the content of a comprehensive CAMHS.