Thursday, May 16, 2019
Mental Health Awareness Week
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, which this year focuses on body image and the impact it can have on mental health.
· Body image issues can cause anxieties for many young people in particular, and can lead to mental health conditions.
· Our long-term plan for the NHS delivers record investment in mental health services – an extra £2.3 billion by 2023-24 – including faster access to help for conditions like eating disorders.
· There is more to do to ensure that looking after our mental health becomes just as natural as looking after our physical health, and no one ever feels they have to suffer in silence again.
· We are committed to increasing the share of the NHS budget which is spent on mental health services and making them more accessible, as well as tackling the root causes of mental health conditions.
We are taking action to protect people from concerns about body image:
· On Tuesday, we launched an awareness campaign on the risks of cosmetic procedures. The campaign has been launched due to concerns about the number of people experiencing serious side effects of cosmetic procedures, and encourages people to choose a suitably qualified and professional practitioner for their treatment. New advice will set out the questions people should ask before they undergo any cosmetic procedure. We are also working to explore how to strengthen the regulation of cosmetic procedures and improve standards.
· On Wednesday, the Mental Health Minister called on social media companies to take action to tackle online bullying. Social media can have a damaging impact on body image. Jackie Doyle-Price said she hoped that abusing people online would become as socially unacceptable as drink driving, and that social media companies would become more vigilant about the content they host.
And we are prioritising mental health support by:
· Allocating £2.3 billion of our £33.9 billion investment in the NHS to mental health services. This means mental health services will receive a growing share of the NHS budget (NHS England, NHS Long Term Plan, 7 January 2019, ).
· Setting out in our long-term plan for the NHS how this funding will improve access to mental health services. The plan will improve services for people with common and severe mental health problems, make more care available in the community, boost emergency and inpatient care, and ensure suicide prevention remains a priority (NHS England, NHS Long Term Plan, 7 January 2019, ).
· Investing in mental health services for young people to ensure they can access support when they need it. We are providing an additional £1.4 billion up to 2020-21 to improve access to mental health services for children and young people, and an additional £300 million over the next three years to deliver the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Green Paper (Hansard, WQ125663, 7 February 2018, ; Hansard, WQ170687, 10 September 2018, .).
· Publishing our Online Harms White Paper to protect peoples’ mental health online. Technology can be hugely beneficial, but we must ensure it does not damage peoples’ mental health. Our White Paper sets out the responsibilities of online platforms to protect users (DCMS, Press Release, 8 April 2019, ).
· Appointing the UK’s first Minister for Suicide Prevention to lead government efforts to cut the number of suicides and overcome the stigma that stops people seeking help. Jackie Doyle-Price will lead a national effort on suicide prevention, bringing together a ministerial taskforce and working with national and local government, experts in suicide and self-harm prevention, charities, clinicians and those personally affected by suicide (Prime Minister’s Office, Press Release, 9 October 2018, ).
· Focussing on addressing mental illness from a younger age, as half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14. Our Green Paper will provide designated mental health leads in schools, earlier access to services through the creation of new Mental Health Support Teams, and pilot a new four-week waiting time standard for young people to ensure everyone receives treatment in the right place at the right time (DfE and DHSC, Response to the Select Committee Report on the Green Paper, 25 July 2018, ).