Prime Minister makes new mental health pledge

Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged better access to education, training and support across communities as part of an overhaul of society’s approach to mental illness.

As part of the plans, every new teacher will be trained in how to spot the signs of mental health issues and all NHS staff will be encouraged to take suicide prevention training from the Zero Suicide Alliance, which we has gained government support with £2 million of investment.

The announcement means schools, social workers, local authorities and healthcare services will receive extra support to make sure people know how to promote good mental health in the same way that they look after physical well-being.

Further plans to drive a step-change in public awareness around looking after your mental health include a new national awareness campaign called Every Mind Matters, launching in October.

As part of this prevention agenda, the Prime Minister has also announced greater transparency in how money is spent on mental health services, with a commitment to independent audits to ensure that the funding committed under the NHS Long-Term plan reaches the front line.

May said: “Too many of us have seen first-hand the devastating consequences of mental illness, which is why tackling this burning injustice has always been a personal priority for me. But we should never accept a rise in mental health problems as inevitable.

“It’s time to rethink how we tackle this issue, which is why I believe the next great revolution in mental health should be in prevention. The measures we’ve launched today will make sure at every stage of life, for people of all backgrounds, preventing mental illness gets the urgent attention it deserves.”

Barbara Keeley MP, Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Social Care, said: “Once again we hear warm words from the Prime Minister on mental health, but the reality is that mental health services are stretched to breaking point and people with mental health problems aren’t getting the support they need.

“The Prime Minister is failing to address the real crisis in mental health. Training for teachers and other professionals is welcome but when we know thousands of children and young people are either turned away from mental health services or have to wait too long for treatment, it’s clear that she’s missing the real issue.

“This Tory government has cut local authority funding and failed to protect mental health budgets. Labour will invest more in mental health services and ring-fence budgets, so that funding reaches those who need support.”

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