Mental Health

I strongly believe that tackling poor mental health must be a priority and so I am delighted that Ministers have legislated to treat it with the same importance as physical health. There are numerous examples of the progress that have been made under this Government, such as an estimated 1,400 more people accessing mental health services every day compared to 2010 (an increase of 40 per cent) as well as approximately 750,000 more people accessing talking therapies since 2010.
In February 2016, an independent Mental Health Taskforce published a new national strategy, setting out an ambitious vision for mental health services. To make these recommendations a reality, I am delighted that the Government will spend an additional £1 billion on mental health by 2020-21 so that people receive the right care in the right place when they need it most. This includes increasing the number of people completing talking therapies by 600,000 per year, and helping 20,000 more people to find or stay in work through individual placement support and talking therapies.
I am pleased to note that a further £1.25 billion has been invested in perinatal and children's mental health, helping professionals to intervene early and more than doubling the number of pregnant women or new mothers receiving mental health support. Indeed, the Government is also investing £150 million to support teenagers with eating disorders, 
The Government has also introduced the first-ever mental health access and waiting time standards, so that 75 per cent of people referred for talking therapies to treat common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety start their treatment within 6 weeks, and 95 per cent within 18 weeks. These targets have been met and the latest data shows that in May 2016, 84 per cent of people waited less than 6 weeks and 97 per cent of people waited less than 18 weeks. Furthermore, patients experiencing psychosis for the first time must be treated within two weeks.
I am further encouraged by the Government's commitment to reform mental health policy in the latest Queen's Speech, in order to continue to reduce the number of people detained in police cells under the Mental Health Act. You may be pleased to know that in October 2017, the Prime Minister announced that the Government would embark on a comprehensive review of the Mental Health Act, which has remained unchanged for more than three decades. This review will examine existing practices and address the disproportionately high rates of detention of people from ethnic minorities. I am happy to report that the review will be led by Professor Sir Simon Wessely, a former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He will consider the needs of all users of mental health services and their families, as well as ways  we can improve the system's support for those during a mental health crisis.