Anyone experiencing a mental health emergency will benefit from more tailored emergency care and support in the community through specialised mental health ambulances, more crisis services, and improved health-based places of safety.
An £150 million investment up to 2024/25 will better support people experiencing – or at risk of experiencing – mental health crises to receive care and support in more appropriate settings outside of A&E, helping to ease pressures facing the NHS.
The funding will allow for the procurement of up to 100 new mental health ambulances, which will take specialist staff directly to patients to deliver support on scene or transfer them to the most appropriate place for care.
It will also fund 150 new projects centred on supporting the provision of mental health crisis response and urgent mental health care. The new projects include over 30 schemes providing crisis cafes, crisis houses and other similar safe spaces, as well as over 20 new or improved health-based places of safety which provide a safe space for people detained by the police. Improvements to NHS 111 and crisis phone lines will also be rolled out.
This funding includes £577,000 that will be spent locally here in Gloucestershire. This includes £362,000 to be spent on improving paediatric mental health facilities at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, and £215,000 to increase room capacity at Wotton Lawn – our local acute mental health hospital.
This builds on our existing plans to improve mental health services. We are investing at least £2.3 billion of additional funding a year by 2023-24 to expand and transform mental health services in England so that two million more people will be able to get the mental health support they need.
Every area now has in place 24/7 NHS open access urgent mental health helplines. In the community, NHS Mental Health Support Teams are being rolled out in schools and colleges, offering early mental health help to children and young people. This comes as the government has committed to increase mental health spend to 8.9% of all NHS funding.
This article was first published in the Forester newspaper.