A group of high profile celebrities have joined together to raise awareness and to campaign for support for increased funding for mental health services in the UK.
Funding and Targets
There have been sustained cuts to mental health provision in recent years, particularly in services for young people, widening the gap between waiting time for treatment of physical condidtions and those for mental health conditions. For symptoms of cancer, for example, NHS patients currently have the right to a specialist referral within two weeks of their GP appointment, but for most people suffering from mental ill health, waiting times run into months or even years. For non-phsyical conditions, no such targets exist. This is despite evidence that early intervention can prevent the worsening as such conditions as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia, and delayed intervention makes the treatment and management of such conditions much more difficult and costly.
Time to Change
The campaign 'Time to Change' aims to combat the stigma of mental health conditions and to improve access to treatment for all those affected. Celebrities such as rapper Professor Green, MPs Norman Lamb and Andrew Mitchell, comedienne Ruby Wax, footballer Ian Wright and writer and filmmaker Richard Curtis, along with many others, have joined forces for physical and psychological condidtions to be treated equally and given the same priority for treatment. GPs report that around 15% of the UK population could benefit from talking therapies, according to former spin doctor, Alastair Campbell. The group is calling for better access to services, more targets to ensure shorter waiting times, and no further cuts to funding for mental health services. The timing is in line with the Chancellor's forthcoming spending review, which it is hoped will include more provision for care.
The news highlights the essential service that charities and other organisations provide in supporting people in short timescales. Cambridgeshire Consultancy in Counselling is currently able to offer most Cambridgeshire callers their first face to face session within 5 working days. For more information call the nearest receptionist:
Peterborough 01733 553166 or Cambridge 01223 233047 or St Ives 01480 405859