A SUBSTANTIAL funding boost will be needed to tackle an estimated 1.8 million new presentations, recurrences or exacerbations of mental ill health in England expected as a direct or indirect result of the pandemic until 2023, says the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
The college claims that years of underinvestment in mental health have also created the largest backlog in the history of the NHS, with 1.5 million people currently waiting for care with mental illnesses, such as eating disorders, addictions, severe anxiety or depression.
It estimates that a £3bn capital investment, plus £1bn for the day-to-day running of the mental health estate is required over the next three years, to ensure existing hospitals are safe. It’s also calling for £535m in this spending review to build the first six new mental health hospitals from the total of the 12 needed by 2030.
Dr Adrian James, president of the college, said: "Mental health shouldn’t be at the bottom of the list of Government priorities in this spending review.
"Capital investment in the mental health estate, new facilities and workforce funding can make it possible for more people to gain faster access to treatment. Investment will not only help reduce waiting times but will also improve quality of care for mental health patients."