The announcement by the government of a campaign to reduce the stigma around mental health in children is great news, but there is still much more to be done. A recent article reports that scientists have urged for investment in mental healthcare research to triple or at least double, in the UK.            
At present, around £115 million per year is spent on improving procedures and treatments for mental health issues, but experts in a recent report say this figure should increase to around £300 million per year if these efforts are going to continue.
The Roamer project (Roadmap for Mental Health Research in Europe) focused on six research priorities that combined to create the biggest impact on mental health services in the next 5 to 10 years. Scientists who took part in the Roamer project, noted that 12% of all disabilities in the UK are caused by mental and behavioural disorders, which cost the country around £105 billion per year. An incredibly large sum, particularly in the light of the fact that mental health services receive just 5.5% of total health care research funding.
Failure to understand and address mental health issues results in a huge burden, not just for the patients, family and friends, where there are long waiting lists for treatment, but also for society as the cycle of admission and readmission rack up costs. As NHS trusts declare themselves to be billions of pounds in the red already, we must look more deeply into the causes of the problems, rather than just reacting to the results. Lack of support for patients and their families post hospital discharge, hospital beds occupied for too long because there is insufficient rehabilitation support, are just two of a long list of impacts.
At Aspire, we believe that people suffering from mental illness deserve support not just in crisis, but as long as it takes to recover, to be rehabilitated and eventually re-enter the community. Facilities such as Chilwell House in Ilkeston and Riverside Gardens in Sandiacre were designed specifically to provide such support. The levels of care we provide are often much higher than in hospitals and yet, our costs to the public purse are less. This is because we provide ongoing care in a supportive environment within a community setting, that leads to rehabilitation and, eventually, full recovery.
Measures such as the new government initiative are to be welcomed; preventing mental illness and helping others understand it is vital. However, equally vital is to provide the necessary support and care for those already suffering the consequences of mental ill-health.