Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins has given his support to the #EndTheWait campaign which aims to work for ambitious change to young people’s mental health support.

The #EndTheWait campaign has set out that there is an unprecedented crisis in young people’s mental health. This has been worsened by the pandemic, with record numbers of young people seeking help and going into crisis.

In March 2022, 90,789 young people were referred to a mental health service: the highest monthly figure to be registered since records began. NHS Digital prevalence data from 2021 showed 1 in 6 young people now has a probable mental health disorder, up from 1 in 9 in 2017, and this figure is likely to have risen since then. These figures show the sheer scale of the emergency, with almost half a million young people being treated for their mental health every month.

NHS England has recently published its Ten Year Strategy, which includes a commitment to increase funding for mental health services. If delivered, this will mean that a greater proportion of NHS funding will be being spent on mental health. However, successive Conservative-led administrations have slashed NHS spending in real terms over the last twelve years.

Labour Leader Keir Starmer has set out that an incoming Labour Government would guarantee access to mental health treatment in less than a month for all who need it. Labour’s plans would introduce a radical expansion of the mental health workforce, resulting in over a million more people receiving support each year, alongside unprecedented investment in children’s mental health after the disruption of the pandemic.

Keir Starmer will commit the next Labour Government to: Guaranteeing mental health treatment within a month for all who need it, setting a new NHS target, ensuring that patients start receiving appropriate treatment – not simply an initial assessment of needs – within a month of referral; Recruiting 8,500 new staff so that one million additional people can access treatment every year by the end of Labour’s first term in office; Putting an open access mental health hub for children and young people in every community, providing early intervention, drop-in services; Providing specialist mental health support in every school, so that they can support pupils and resolve problems before they escalate.

This plan would see a full-time mental health professional in every secondary school and a part time professional in every primary school, improving service quality, bringing in the first ever long-term, whole Government plan for improving mental health outcomes, making early intervention a reality, and broadening the range of services to those with severe mental health illnesses; Giving mental health its fair share of funding, pledging that NHS spending on mental health will never fall and a fair share of mental health funding every time new funding is provided to the NHS.

Labour’s plan would address the current crisis in mental health services, which sees two-fifths of patients waiting for mental health treatment forced to contact emergency or crisis services prior to receiving treatment, with one in ten ending up in A&E. 1 in 4 adults those who had to wait after their initial assessment did not begin treatment for three months or more.

Toby stated “Children and young people’s mental health is in crisis locally and across the country. I’m keen to highlight the Young Minds campaign to #EndTheWait’ to hold the government to account on their Ten Year Plan”.

He added “At last year’s party conference, Keir Starmer announced how an incoming Labour government would make mental health a priority, particularly for children, and I’m pleased that we’ve committed to take action if successful at the next General Election”.

Toby Perkins MP
Toby Perkins MP
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