Recently, vast improvements were made on the mental health care as MPs took over its management. Plans were made, such as ‘equal footing’ with physical health. But by April of 2013, the responsibility goes back to the councillors.
The government understand the importance of keeping people mentally fit and healthy. The huge emphasis given to mental health care at present is due to the fact that vast amount of money and suffering could be spared if people who are distressed, together with those who are having mental health issues, will be given proper care and attention. Although charities and organisations were disappointed with the budget cuts, the government claims that their efforts towards better mental health management are now starting to yield fruits, reporting the first-ever decrease in the cost of mental health within 10 years.
Why the government wouldn’t want to ignore mental health
Mental health disorders aren’t just expensive to treat. They are also linked to physical illnesses, higher crime rates, and poor work productivity. Research shows that around 75% of individuals engaged in drug and alcohol abuse have mental health issues. Moreover, 40% of people acquiring mental health service also have substance abuse problems.
Councillors will work hand in hand with the local authorities to work on better strategies to improve current treatments and prevention programs for people with mental health issues, as part of the government move towards providing better health services. These include integrating mental, physical, social, housing and understanding major factors that contribute to mental health problems.
Role of councillors
Councillors have a crucial role in the mental health care management, particularly in promoting preventive treatments and peer support. And despite the budget cuts, councils already have effective plans that wouldn’t cost too much.
For instance, local joint health commissioner Stephen Hardisty, together with the National Survivor User Network (NSUN) and Hackney council are working on a network of mental health service users in Brent. NSUN is an independent service user that works with mental health patients obtaining services across Brent. They are currently on the process of laying out the structure of the network, how it should function and what benefits will service users get.
In Lamberth (which has the biggest budget cut in UK), the Living Well collaborative provides mental health service users an equal voice with council and NHS commissioners and providers. Through their intervention, over 200 hospital in-patients have successfully gone back to the community after going through a programme that helped them achieve their potential rather than being stuck in medication and confinement.
Local authorities on the other hand, would be tasked to help residents escape from dependency which according to them, takes away ambition and confidence, and leads to poverty and psychological distress.
Improving mental health care has a long way to go, but the government is very positive about it.
Source of this article:
Why local government cannot afford to ignore mental health, Guardian Professional