Joanne Drew, Director of Housing, comments NHS England's Mental Health Taskforce report

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By Nacro

in Nacro news

“The Mental Health Taskforce report is an important and timely review. We are pleased to see additional funding commitment to bring about a seven day week mental health support service and the expansion of community based services for people who need additional help to live safely at, or close to home.

“Poor mental health impacts most people at some point in their life. However, for some, this can escalate into a crisis. For those people immediate, intensive support is vital to prevent escalations that can result in self-harm, suicide and even crime.

“We are pleased that the Taskforce recognise the vital role that supported housing plays for people with acute mental health problems. We support calls for better understanding of the role specialist housing plays in aiding recovery and the potential use of NHS land for future accommodation sites. However, people in crisis often present with multiple and complex needs such as drug or alcohol addiction, homelessness or time in prison. For many people living in Nacro housing, mental health problems are diagnosed during their time with us, or present as a ‘secondary need’. It is rare for supported housing to be primarily funded for mental health. It is unlikely that this will change in the near future and it is for this reason that all supported housing providing services for people with complex needs should be protected. If it is not, then many people suffering mental health crisis are at risk of falling through the cracks and the laudable aims of early intervention, close to home, community-based support will not be achieved.

“We fully support the Taskforce’s recommendations that government departments should work together to develop integrated health and justice interventions that support the high number of people in the criminal justice system with mental health problems. At the moment, 49% people in prison have an identifiable mental health problem. It is vital that liaison and diversion, which identifies and provides support to people with mental health problems, as early as possible in the criminal justice system, is rolled out nationally. Alongside this, wherever possible, community based sentences should be explored with clear and planned access to available support for mental ill health.“Too many people with mental health problems present at crisis point, whether this be in A&E, police custody or prison. Their problems are left undiagnosed and unsupported in the community resulting in costly consequences for individuals, their family and blue light services. We hope measures announced today will be the start of a system that is more effective, better resourced and more responsive to the people’s needs. We need to make sure that the millions of people affected by mental ill health no longer suffer in silence and have access to the same care and treatment expected for physical ill health.”

 

A copy of the report can be found here.