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City expert comments on Lib Dems’ mental health funding pledge

Actions speak louder than words when it comes to mental health funding, says Professor of Collaborative Mental Health Nursing

The Liberal Democrats have pledged more than £2bn of extra funding for mental health over the next parliament, according to the party’s “manifesto for the mind”.

Launched on Tuesday, the extra funding is in addition to the £1.5bn what has already been announced in the coalition budget.

The money would be spent on revolutionising children's and adult mental health care including:

  • £250m over five years for pregnant women and mums dealing with depression. This would include eight new mother and baby units providing inpatient care for pregnant women and new mums and 40 new community services helping new mums adjust to life at home with a new born.
  • New waiting time standards for people in crisis and for conditions like bipolar disorder so that those who are ill know how long they have to wait.
  • Hundreds of thousands more people will get access to talking therapies for anxiety and depression.

Commenting on the announcement, Alan Simpson, Professor of Collaborative Mental Health Nursing at City University London, said:

“It’s great to see parties pledging to increase funding for mental health but actions speak louder than words. Over the last parliament there was an 8% cut in funding for mental health services. Community services are closing and contracting. Caseload sizes are increasing making it harder for mental health nurses and other staff to provide the level of support and skilled input required. On top of that, cuts in welfare benefits and spiralling housing costs have hit people with mental health problems hard. The next government needs to show some joined up thinking around these issues if they really want to improve the lot of people with mental health problems.”

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