In­vest­ing in care for men­tal health

Coun­cil as­sess­ing where money needed

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Will Ack­er­mann will.ack­er­mann@trin­i­tymir­

HILLING­DON Coun­cil spent nearly five per cent of its pub­lic health bud­get on men­tal health ser­vices last year – more than three times the na­tional av­er­age – ac­cord­ing to new fig­ures.

The lo­cal au­thor­ity spent £709,000 on pub­lic men­tal health ser­vices in 2013/14, amount­ing to 4.6 per cent of its to­tal bud­get for pub­lic health spend­ing, which was £15,281,000.

The fig­ures were ob­tained by the men­tal health char­ity Mind, un­der the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act.

The char­ity re­quested the same fig­ures from ev­ery lo­cal au­thor­ity in Eng­land and found that, on av­er­age, only 1.36 per cent of pub­lic health bud­gets were spent on men­tal health in 2013/14.

The char­ity says men­tal health prob­lems ac­count for 23 per cent of the to­tal cost of deal­ing with ill­ness in the UK, and has crit­i­cised coun­cils for spend­ing sig­nif­i­cantly less money tack­ling th­ese is­sues than is spent on ad­dress­ing phys­i­cal prob­lems, such as obe­sity and smoking.

The pri­mary care trust (PCT), which made de­ci­sions about how money should be spent on health ser­vices un­til it was abol­ished last year, had al­lo­cated only £40,000 for Hilling­don Coun­cil’s men­tal health ser­vices in 2013/14.

Hav­ing taken over re­spon­si­bil­ity for pre­vent­ing phys­i­cal and men­tal health prob­lems from the PCT in April 2013, the bor­ough coun­cil de­cided to spend nearly 18 times that amount.

Jean Palmer, the coun­cil’s deputy chief ex­ec­u­tive and cor­po­rate di­rec­tor of res­i­dents’ ser­vices, said: “The coun­cil is putting our res­i­dents first by in­vest­ing in men­tal health ser­vices that meet the needs of our com­mu­nity.

“As part of this we are cur­rently un­der­tak­ing a men­tal health needs as­sess­ment to help us bet­ter un­der­stand the level of preven­tion and early in­ter­ven­tion ser­vices re­quired and how th­ese can be best de­liv­ered.

“Our orig­i­nal preven­tion bud­get for men­tal health was set by the Pri­mary Care Trust. Since pub­lic health tran­si­tioned to the coun­cil in April 2013, we have in­creased this in­vest­ment to en­sure our res­i­dents re­ceive the care and support that they need.”

The money is used for ser­vices such as so­cial clubs and day ac­tiv­i­ties for peo­ple with men­tal health needs.

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