DORSET Mind charity has praised plans to tackle the ‘hidden injustice’ and stigma of mental illness in young people.
Theresa May yesterday announced additional training for teachers in every secondary school to support those who may be having problems like anxiety, depression or eating disorders, an extra £15m for community care and a £67.7m investment into online services such as self-checks as part of her plans to use the state to create a ‘shared society.’
The government says one in four people has a mental disorder, with an annual cost of £105bn, and that young people are affected disproportionately for example many have to travel a long way from their homes to receive treatment.
In her speech at the Charity Commission, Mrs May said mental health had been ‘dangerously disregarded’ as secondary to physical health.
Dr Andrew Mayers, patron for Dorset Mind and expert in mental health at Bournemouth University, welcomed the announcement saying ‘support for young people is especially critical’, adding ‘at the very least mental health is being discussed at the highest level.’
However his support came with a warning.
He said: “Funding needs to recognise that staff need more than simple retraining. Having mental health experts in every school is essential. We are currently failing our young people.”
He added: “We still have no clear statement on whether we will be seeing new funding that will fully address the chronic shortage in NHS, school, and community provision. It’s not just about clinical services. While they are seriously underfunded, that only reflects those most unwell. We also need investment that focuses on prevention and to support those with less severe conditions.”
Dr Mayers added: “Considerably more funding is also needed for adult mental health, within NHS services and community support. Furthermore, employers should be given incentives to improve mental health support and understanding within the workplace. It should be at the very heart of corporate practice.”