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Archive October 2019

Responding to Making The Grade, a new report by the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition, Emily Graham, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer at Mind, said:

“Schools are a key part of life for most children and young people, and have a big role to play when it comes to mental health for both pupils and staff. The education system must focus on more than academic achievement and value everyone’s mental health and wellbeing. Young people today are facing significant pressures, and we’d welcome a review on the impact of the exam system. We also want to see Ofsted and other inspectors assessing schools on their efforts to promote wellbeing and development.

“With two in five pupils surveyed by Mind saying they wouldn’t know where to go to get support within school, it’s clear that there’s far more to be done to make sure all young people get the help they need.

“But it’s not just down to schools to make the changes needed to enable all young people to thrive. Young people’s mental health services should work in close partnership with education providers to ensure problems are identified and addressed early on. Schools and colleges cannot be expected to address children and young people’s mental health by themselves, and support cannot stop at the school gate.”

Source: National Mind

Mind has issued a response to the CQC’s State of Care report, which this year focuses particularly on inpatient mental health services, which have seen a reduction in quality.

Findings include:

  • 7% of child and adolescent mental health inpatient services were rated inadequate (2018: 3%)
  • 8% of acute wards for adults of working age and psychiatric intensive care units were rated inadequate (2018: 2%)

The report also outlines how the majority of mental health inpatient services rated inadequate or requiring improvement also had a lack of appropriately skilled staff.

Responding to the report, Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, the mental health charity, said:

“It is disturbing that the CQC continues to highlight the same issues with the quality of mental healthcare, time and time again, just when people need them the most.

“We have repeatedly said that additional investment needs to reach the frontline to counteract years of underfunding and increased demand for mental health services. But the report shows access to community mental health services is not keeping pace with demand. The promise of more money at a national level is not enough – people are still reaching crisis point because they are aren’t getting the help they need.

“We know that even when people are able to get help, it is delivered in sub-standard facilities which limits the quality of their care. It is deeply unsettling that inspections repeatedly reveal outdated and dangerous infrastructure. We cannot expect people with mental health problems to be treated in these conditions, nor should we expect NHS mental health staff to work in them. And yet the Government has barely given mental health a mention in recent capital spending announcements.

“The Government must also urgently address the diminishing workforce, which is driving the overall decline in the quality of mental healthcare. As demand increases, under-supported staff are leaving in droves. This report shows that understaffed and under-resourced services don’t deliver quality care.

“Though investment through the NHS Long Term Plan is welcome, it is clear that in real-terms mental health services have been left languishing at the bottom of the pile, including, worryingly, those for children and young people and psychiatric intensive care units. The public rightly expects mental health services to be as much of a priority as those for physical health but this message isn’t getting through to local decision makers. The Government must invest in infrastructure and workforce, and the NHS Long Term Plan must be delivered in every local area if we are to see meaningful change for people trying to access support right now.”

Source: National Mind

On 30 September the Government pledged a large amount of investment for hospital projects across England, at the start of the Conservative party conference.

The plans include a £2.7bn investment for six hospitals over five years but no mention was made of mental health buildings.

Responding to the Health Secretary’s speech, Vicki Nash, Head of Policy and Campaigns Mind, the mental health charity, said:

“Pressing risks caused by sub-standard mental health facilities have been completely ignored in today’s funding announcement for NHS hospitals.

“Long-neglected NHS mental health buildings are interfering with people’s recovery and putting them at risk of suicide. The continued use of mixed sex and dormitory wards puts people in danger of sexual assault. It can’t be right we expect people with mental health problems to continue to use inadequate and often dangerous infrastructure, and we should not expect NHS mental health staff to work in these conditions.

“When the Prime Minister first announced money for building projects, we called for the mental health estate to be among the first to benefit. Its omission in the Health Secretary’s speech makes it seem like mental health has been pushed to the back of the queue. This follows previous announcements around building projects which have seen mental health barely get a mention.

“Having a key government announcement of funding for hospitals with no inclusion of mental health is woefully out of touch. The public now rightly expect mental health facilities to be as much of a priority as those for physical health.

“There is no time to waste, the Government must urgently bring the NHS mental health estate into the 21st century. Unless, of course, it has now decided that mental health is no longer such a burning injustice.”

Source: National Mind