Talking therapies will be provided for children and young people by 2018 and better support will be given for children who need to move into adult services.
Talking therapies, which already help 600,000 people in the UK, will now be expanded so that 300,000 more adults will be able to get help.
At least one in four people experience stress, anxiety and depression at some point in their lives, and depression costs the NHS £16.4 billion through treatment and lost earnings each year.
The Department of Health (DH) has set out an action plan to improve the care of people with mental health issues.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “We recognise that we’ve got a mountain to climb. But we’re working hard to ensure that the needs of those with mental health problems are considered not just in the NHS, but also across our public sector: with better support in education, employment, the justice sector, housing and elsewhere.
“Ultimately, it’s going to take all of us working together to achieve the change in attitudes to mental health that we need, to create an environment together where it’s okay to talk about mental health.”
Closing the Gap: Priorities for Essential Change in Mental Health, outlines 25 areas for health and care services to work on.
The government hopes these changes will make the system fairer for people with mental health issues.
Other measures from the document include:
- At least £43 million will be invested in better housing pilots for people with mental health problems or learning disabilities. Architects and builders will work with mental health experts and charities to bid for projects to be built by 2017.
- The Friends and Family Test will be rolled out to mental health services so patients can give feedback on their care.
- Patients will have a choice on where they get their mental heath care.
- Waiting time standards will be introduced for mental health from next year.
Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said: “Mental health must have equal importance as physical health – giving patients who are using mental health services the same rights as other patients is a crucial part of this.”
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing said the proposals are “good news”.
He said: “Mental health services have been coming under increasing pressure in recent months, with higher bed occupancy rates and bigger workloads for a shrinking workforce.
“It’s vital that we see continued investment in mental health so that health professionals are able to deliver quality, specialist care and that improvements made to services over the last ten years aren’t lost.”
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