We have had repeated commitments from the very top of government to address the injustices faced by people with mental health problems.
We have welcomed the growing recognition of the distress caused, and the steps announced to achieve equity between the treatment of mental and physical health.
We have also welcomed the extra funding being made available and the new services and extended access being created.
However, the evidence is clear: pressure on day-to-day core services delivered by NHS mental health trusts is rapidly rising. Survey findings from today’s State of the NHS Provider Sector report, published by NHS Providers, provide a stark warning about the ability of these trusts to deal with growing demand for services.
Only one in three is confident that they have enough staff. About one in 10 say they are managing demand and planning for unmet need. Fewer still are confident that the commitment to increase investment in mental health will result in enough money reaching the frontline.
The response must be clear and unequivocal.
First, we need to develop ways to ensure that money committed for mental health gets through to the NHS frontline and is spent effectively on quality services.
Second, we must be realistic in the way we respond to growing demand, recognising that societal pressures are increasing the need for mental health services.
Third, worries over staffing gaps revealed in the report once again underline the urgency for a proper comprehensive workforce strategy, with specific proposals that will improve the experience of people with mental health problems so they receive the care that they need and deserve.