I entirely agree with you that it is vital we achieve parity of esteem between mental and physical health and so I warmly welcome the budget announcement that an extra £2 billion will be invested into NHS mental health support over the next five years.
I believe that occupational health has a pivotal role in tackling mental ill health, given that people with severe mental illness are more likely to develop a physical health condition. Up to £250 million a year will be invested into new "crisis services", including 24-hour support through the NHS 111 telephone helpline, children and young people's crisis teams, mental health support in every major A&E and specialist mental health support ambulances.
Access to the Individual Placement and Support programme, which helps those with severe mental illness find and retain employment, will also be increased and it is expected that the service will benefit around 55,000 people by 2023/24.
The risk protection representative body Group Risk Development have highlighted that supporting people suffering from mental health is in fact crucial to our economy, by ensuring that employees with poor mental health are able to minimise time off work, given that mental health issues accounted for 24% of all group income protection claims last year. I was also pleased to note that Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, described the Budget as an "important one for mental health".