Anxiety UK today joins other mental health charities in welcoming the Government’s plans revealed yesterday to provide greater support to those affected by mental health issues. Waiting times and patient choice have been targeted in the Government’s plans to put mental health treatment on a par with other care.
Patients will be given the right to choose where they are treated under the new plans. Crucially, patients will also be given the same waiting time targets as those with physical health problems, all in a bid to shift attitudes around mental health.
“We know how long waiting times can impact on a person’s ability to be able to manage their anxiety,” explains Nicky Lidbetter, Anxiety UK’s chief executive. “By the time someone has sought help and support for their anxiety, waiting for months for an appointment with a therapist can make mental health problems more entrenched and difficult to manage. Seeing mental health as important as physical health by improving waiting times is a welcome step in the right direction.”
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who revealed the plan (Closing the Gap: Priorities for essential change in mental health), blames stigma and lack of understanding for the poor mental healthcare some have received.
“It’s time for us to bring mental health out of the shadows and to give people with mental health conditions the support they need and deserve,” he said yesterday.
Conditions like panic, anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are more common than people think – affecting 1 in 4 people over the course of a year – and can be managed if treatment is sought early. According to the Centre for Mental Health, mental health problems cost the economy around £105 billion a year.
Also included in the plans are expanding talking therapies to 300,000 more patients, more support for children and investment of £43 million for pilot projects for better housing for people with mental health problems and learning difficulties.
If you or a loved one are experiencing anxiety, Anxiety UK provides access to reduced cost therapy within two weeks for members. For more information about how membership could help you, call our helpline on 08444 775 774 or click here.