2nd April, 2016

It is generally regarded as a bad idea to look a gift horse in the mouth. Sadly, this doesn’t hold true for mental health, where the rhetoric doesn’t always match the reality. Last year’s much-lauded announcement that children’s mental health services would receive an extra £250m a year was a disappointingly familiar reminder of fact. The announcement was warmly welcomed, even when the £250m shrank to £143 million, but the warm welcome turned frosty when the majority of the £143mi went ‘missing’, presumably siphoned off to prop up other NHS services.

When you consider that community mental health services have been cut by at least £85m (and probably much more) since 2010/11 – which would be difficult to manage even if demand was standing still, and almost impossible when for example the number of children being diagnosed with mental illnesses in Accident and Emergency has doubled in the same period of time – you can see why a healthy scepticism is so necessary for people who work in mental health.