Government launches 10-year mental health strategy

A 10-year mental health strategy centring on depression has been launched by the government today.

New Horizons is based on prevention in areas such as English schools and the workplace.

Alongside this, the government launched two employment strategies designed to help people with mental health conditions stay in work.

It also published a review led by Doctor Rachel Perkins of South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust, which recommended action to improve employment prospects.

The strategies will involve the creation of new specialist mental health coordinators at Jobcentre Plus and nine occupational health advice line pilots for small businesses.

Ministers are also looking at ways to extend the access to work programme for more people with mental health conditions to get and stay in work.

The strategy includes a suicide prevention plan. In addition, a minister will unveil a plan to tackle the stigma surrounding mental ill health.

Care services minister Phil Hope said: “This strategy is showing how across government we can join up so that people in different settings can have help that prevents them becoming depressed, in a more holistic way and provides some mitigation.”

Secretary of state for health Andy Burnham said: “New Horizons follows a decade of record investment in mental health services – there are now more consultant psychiatrists, more clinical psychologists and more mental health nurses than ever before.”

He added: “Good mental health services are a vital part of a modern, preventative and people-centred national health service.”

The focus on depression comes amid evidence that one in six adults will have a mental health problem at any one time.

For many adults with mental health conditions, problems will have begun to develop by the time they were 14.

The costs can be immense, with recent estimates suggesting the figures is around £77bilion due to lost productivity.

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