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Mental Health: Unemployed

Volume 485: debated on Monday 15 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans he has to increase the capacity of mental health care services during a period of increasing unemployment; (243069)

(2) what estimate he has made of the effects on demand for mental health care services as a result of increasing rates of unemployment;

(3) what plans he has to reduce the prevalence of mental illness related to redundancy or fear of redundancy.

We recognise that there are links between poor mental health and difficult economic circumstances and, in the current climate, it is understandable that people might worry more about their finances. Mental health services in England are now better prepared than ever before to provide help for these people.

Since 2001-02, real terms investment in adult mental health services increased by 44 per cent. (or £1.7 billion) putting in place the services and staff needed to transform mental health services. The national health service spent £5.53 billion on these services in 2007-08 (£3.844 billion in 2001-02).

We now have 64 per cent. more consultant psychiatrists, 71 per cent. more clinical psychologists and 21 per cent. more mental health nurses than we had in 1997, providing better care and support for people with mental health problems. (Full-time equivalent)

Because of the National Service Framework and increased funding, we now have over 740 new community mental health teams offering home treatment, early intervention, or intensive support for people who might otherwise have been admitted to hospital.

Further, we are investing significantly in the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme with annual funding rising to £173 million in the third year (2010-11), to train 3,600 extra therapists and treat 900,000 more people in those three years.

This programme is relieving distress and transforming lives by offering effective intervention and treatment choice to people with depression and anxiety disorders and improving the collection, recording and measuring of patients’ health outcomes, producing data that allow further research.

There were 35 new services launched last month, with more than 800 therapy workers now offering this support to people who need it.