Councils spending ‘close to nothing’ on mental health initiatives

Local authorities are spending less than 1% of their public health budget on mental health services, new data has revealed today.

A freedom of information request by Mind found that the amount allocated by councils to prevent mental health problems has fallen for the last three years, from 1.4% to 0.9%.

The mental health charity also identified 13 local authorities that spent nothing on mental health problems this year.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: ‘Our research shows that the current spend on public mental health initiatives is negligible. This can’t continue. Prevention is always better than cure and ignoring the problem simply doesn’t make sense. Investment could stop people who aren’t unwell developing mental health problems in the future.

‘It is not acceptable that such a small amount of the public health purse goes on preventing mental health problems. It undermines the Government’s commitment to giving mental health equality with physical health. One in four people will experience a mental health problem every year, yet so much of this could be prevented by targeted programmes aimed at groups we know to be at risk, such as pregnant women, people who are isolated, people from BAME and rural communities or those living with a long term physical health problem.’

From next April local authorities will be required to report on what they spend on mental health.

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