Chancellor George Osborne today confirmed the government would expand access to talking therapies and invest in services to divert mentally ill offenders away from the justice system and into treatment.
No details are available on funding for either, though the government has said the diversion plans would be rolled out nationally over the spending review period.
The announcements have been welcomed by organisations including Mind and Rethink.
Mind said it was “cautiously optimistic” but was hoping to find out this afternoon what this would mean in terms of funding.
This found that in England one in five people are still waiting more than a year to access psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or counselling.
Rethink said it welcomed both announcements but wanted to ensure that talking therapies were expanded to people with severe mental illnesses.
On Twitter, it said: “G’ment has committed to providing treatment for mentally ill offenders in criminal justice system which is good as we know that only 21% of people affected by mental illness are in settled accommodation.”
Professor Dinesh Bhugra, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, also welcomed both measures.
But he added: “The NHS will still have to make £20bn savings, which will put huge pressures on services. Historically, mental health services have been an easy target for cuts because it has been poorly understood and stigmatised. It’s a challenge to us all to ensure this does not happen again.”
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