So, back in 2013/2014 the NHS launched their parity of esteem program to get mental health treated the same as physical health.
Back then mental health received around 8% of the NHS budget (in comparison treatment for cancer received 11% and heart disease received 9%).
This as you can see show's there was a long way to go...
A couple of weeks ago news surfaced that 57% of CCG's (Clinical Commissioning Groups [the guys & gals responsible for putting up the cash and commissioning services]) are cutting their mental health spend in 2016/2017.
Erm... I think we may be going the wrong way here!
Now, there's no point getting upset - we're still facing a money squeeze and because those with mental ill health are often unable to speak up for themselves nothing is going to change.
We can't do anything about it.
Or can we?
Can you and I do something right now to make waves?
Can we do something without having to march on downing street?
There's something you can do right now.
You can make your organisation a safe place to talk about mental health.
Government funding follows statistics - pure and simple.
The people who shout the loudest get the most money - fact.
Now, as I have already said those with mental ill health usually can't shout very loud so we need to do it for them.
The safer it is to talk about mental ill health, the more people will open up, the more people will report it to their GP.
This means - undeniable proof that mental ill health is happening to 50% of the population.
It's no longer an estimate.
It becomes a statistical fact.
And where there's stats theirs cash.
Now, importantly when it comes to mental health a little bit of cash goes a really long way.
The average cost of cancer treatment to the NHS is 30,000 per person
In the hands of the mental health budget this money could;
(now I'm not anti-cancer treatment at all - like most people I know someone who has struggled with cancer. The thing is out of my social circle I know 3 who have had cancer and well over 20 who have had depression...)
Honestly though, just by reducing the antidepressant bill (currently at £750,000 a day...) the NHS could do amazing things.
£750,000 a day is 5.5 million a week & £286 million a year.
Now, if 30k can help between 30 & 200 people a year - how many could £286 million help?
I mean really help.
Not just maintain a level of nothingness (description of being on antidepressants from my clients)
Here's the issue.
You can't just stop giving people antidepressants.
The withdrawal effects are horrific.
What's needed is a cash injection up front and a pay back at a later date.
But - to get the cash injection we all need to shout.
Start today by talking about mental health in your meeting.
Let your employees know it's OK.
Let your employees know you have a health plan that covers receiving counselling.
Encourage your employees to look after their mental health - even before it's broken.
We all go to the gym (well supposedly...), to protect our physical health.
Why can't we all go to a therapist to protect our mental health?
If you need some pointers on getting the conversation started give me a shout & I'll help where I can.
Catch you soon - Katie.