Any women with postnatal mental health problems will be able to get local specialist treatment by 2020, the Prime Minister has pledged today.
David Cameron announced that there will be a “revolution” in Britain’s treatment of mental illness, supported by £290m that will fund a huge expansion in services within the next four years.
The money will go towards creating new community perinatal mental health teams and more beds in mother-and-baby units.
Psychological problems related to childbirth will also be more openly discussed, Cameron said, adding: “Mental illness isn’t contagious. There’s nothing to be frightened of.”
“We need to take away that shame, that embarrassment, let people know that they’re not in this alone, that when the clouds descend, they don’t have to suffer silently. I want us to be able to say to anyone who is struggling, ‘talk to someone, ask your doctor for help and we will always be there to support you’.”
Currently, three-quarters of the 40,000 women a year who experience conditions such as postnatal depression don’t receive the treatment they need, due to the postcode lottery of available services.
Another £250m will be spent on ensuring that at least half of all hospital A&E units in England have specialist mental health personnel on duty around the clock – liaison psychiatry services, usually involving psychiatrists and mental health nurses.
An extra £400m will be spent on expanding the number of teams of psychiatric specialists based outside of hospitals, so that by 2020 every part of England will have one.
“Social care services, the ambulance service and the police will give families a place they can refer to and help support people at home rather than them just ending up on the streets, in a police cell or off to the A&E department,” Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, added.