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article imageLow mental health budget means long wait for UK patients

By Sam Wright     Oct 30, 2014 in Health
Only 1.4 percent of the UK's public health budgets are spent on mental health, according to a recent report by mental health charity Mind.
During NHS reforms in 2013, the responsibility for distributing public health budgets was transferred from primary care trusts to local governments.
The report showed that while £76m is planned to be spent on increasing physical activity, £671m on sexual health services, and £160m on smoking cessation services, only £40m is expected to be spent on public mental health — despite the fact that mental health problems are estimated to cost the UK over £100m each year.
“Just like physical health, we all have mental health. Mind’s findings show, however, that while local authorities are happy to spend on preventing physical health problems, their equivalent spending on mental health is unacceptably low," says Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind.
According to a new report from the We Need To Talk coalition, one in ten people seeking therapy for mental health issues is forced to wait more than a year for an assessment.
“Local authorities need much clearer guidance and support on how best to tackle mental health problems," says Farmer.
While waiting for an assessment on the NHS, two thirds of patients became more mentally unwell, and 16 percent attempted to take their own life. A quarter of patients turned to a private therapist for help, but with most private counsellors charging between £30 and £40 per hour, many patients cannot afford to take this route.
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