This week, David Cameron has put mental health at the top of the political agenda, following a ‘damning’ report by an NHS England Taskforce that found around 25% of the population will suffer mental health issues at some time in their lives and yet 75% of people with mental health problems received absolutely no support.  The report suggested this shameful shortfall of care leads to "thousands of tragic and unnecessary deaths"
The Prime Minister called for the nation to focus on mental health and committed an extra £1bm spend a year by 2020, which he says will help treat a million people a year.  
However, there is no extra money over and above the £8.4bn already promised to the health service, so is this announcement just ‘spin’ or will things really change?
One thing is for sure, the report and the storm of news around it will have raised awareness of the problem with mental health care. Namely it is, and long has been, the poor relation to physical health care, as David Cameron admitted.
Currently, even those who do receive treatment are left without sufficient support after hospital discharge. Hospitals need the beds, so patients are discharged into the community, then families can’t cope, resulting in patient relapse and readmission – and so the cycle goes on.
That’s why Aspire established first Chilwell House in Ilkeston as a treatment, recovery and rehabilitation centre, followed by Riverside Gardens in Sandiacre to provide supported living and skills enablement for mental health sufferers in Derbyshire.
These purpose designed environments provide holistic support and, where required, therapy aimed at full recovery and rehabilitation back into the community and back into work.
Some people may point at the cost to the NHS of such care, and yet, the cost implications of not providing support are much high – never mind the cost in terms of ruined human lives.
Where support is not provided post hospital discharge, patients almost invariably relapse and require further care in hospital, which incurs more cost. Or where they remain at home without support, often there are issues around neglect or abuse, at which point social services becomes involved – more cost.
Those with more serious problems can end up on the streets, worsening their condition and increasing their chances of being drawn into crime. Clearly, prison is not the right place for those with mental health issues and – guess what – it’s a high cost on the public purse.
Our aim is to break the downward spiral – and to save the government money. A commitment to spend more on treatment is very welcome, but a focus on longer term support and rehabilitation is crucial too.
The government spend on mental health is currently £9.2bn a year. The cost to the economy is estimated to be £105bn. You do the math.