Did you know that half of all hospital in-patients have a mental health condition?
And that unaddressed mental health problems are costing the NHS billions each year in terms of worse physical health.
The situation is especially scandalous among the young.
Rising numbers of young people are needing serious mental health support –yet the proportion of the mental health budget spent on them is small;
– just 6 per cent of the mental health budget is spent on children, even though three quarters of adult mental illness begins before the age of 18.
– Around 10 per cent of children at any one time have a diagnosable mental health problem – that’s three in every classroom. Yet of these, almost three quarters get no help.

That’s why Ed Miliband has made Mental Health a high priority in Labour’s 10 Year NHS plan.
It’s also why Alex Sobel has backed the proposals of Leeds University Student, Rachel Megan Barker, on young people and their mental health.

Ed Miliband has committed Labour to a radical improvement in mental health provision with more emphasis on prevention, early intervention and better support – particularly for young people – as part of Labour’s plan to sustain and improve the NHS.
Prevention, early intervention and better support are the keys.

Labour’s 10-year plan for the NHS contains key measures to integrate mental and physical health provision with social care to ensure problems get identified and addressed as early as possible.
That means ensuring that the training of all NHS staff includes mental health so problems get spotted.
– plus ensuring that people with complex physical and mental health conditions will be given a single point of contact for all of their care.

Ed Miliband has specifically pledged more action on child mental health.
The LibDem/Tory Coalition’s false economies in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are behind this weekend’s revelations about the acute bed crisis and the growing number of young people being placed in adult wards.

Good child mental health is critical for academic attainment and future employment prospects: children with emotional problems are twice as likely to struggle with reading, spelling and maths.

A range of prevention and early intervention services have been stripped back in recent years, including Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, Early Intervention in Psychosis Services and the Early Intervention Grant which funds Sure Start services.

Under Labour, the proportion of the mental health budget spent on children will rise over time, as we make smart investments to improve mental health in childhood. In the process some of the demand on mental health services when young people turn into adults will be lessened

Labour’s specific commitments in the short term include training all teachers in future in child mental health so they
are equipped to identify, support and refer children with mental health problems.

Labour is also pledging
•An expansion of talking therapies, working towards a 28-day waiting-time standard for access to both adult and young people’s talking therapies.
– Investment in evidence-based talking therapies saves money on the costs of failure: according to the government figures, it saves £1.75 to the Exchequer for every £1 invested, through reduced physical healthcare costs and reduced welfare costs.
• Local authorities, the NHS and schools working together to ensure all children can access school-based counselling or therapy if they need it.

Alex strongly supports Labour’s proposals.
Some of them, like the proposal to train teachers to identify and support children with mental health problems, were among those recently identified by Leeds Student, Rachel Megan Barker as areas where she would like to see Labour take action.

Rachel also called for the embedding of mental health in the national curriculum, with lessons specifically discussing welfare and mental health.
And she advocated that mental health and welfare training be part of compulsory health and safety training.
– All staff should be trained in how to look after their own mental health in the workplace, and those in managerial roles should also be trained in how to be aware of the mental health of their employees and how best to provide support to those who are suffering from mental health problems.
Rachel called on a Labour government to invest in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, which are currently being cut and frozen in many parts of the country despite rising demand.

Labour has already committed strongly to action on mental health in general, and young people’s mental health in particular.

Alex is supporting Rachel’s calls for the mental health of young people to be high on Labour’s agenda.
As he puts it ‘It makes economic sense. But mostly it makes moral sense. It is a national shame that our young people’s mental health is being neglected. It’s yet another way in which our young people have borne so much of the brunt of this Coalition’s austerity measures.’

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