As care home specialists we focus on a number of very different areas within the sector, including residential services designed to help with mental health problems, as well as homes for the elderly or other rehabilitation facilities. One thing that is common across the board is that funding tends to be tight, but a lack of understanding and awareness has meant mental health lagged even further behind for many years.
Recently the UK government has made it clear that mental health care is an area that improvements need to be made in. For the first time, the extent to which people are being affected by mental health issues is being recognised more clearly. For example, in any given year up to a quarter of people in the UK could be affected by a diagnosable mental health problem. Recent research also found that less than half of these people are in employment, a significantly lower percentage than the general population and even people suffering with other serious illnesses like cancer and diabetes. Residential care services for people suffering with mental health issues tend to focus on assisting with this, as finding a job has long been established as a positive influence for many people in their rehabilitation, and something many people struggle to achieve without support.
For this reason, the prime minister announced plans recently to invest an additional £1 billion in mental health care services over the next five years, accompanied by a comprehensive plan outlining where the money will be spent. It mainly focuses on the close link which has been established between employment and better mental health, so the main objective of the plan is to facilitate people getting better to the point that they are able to find work, which is a more sustainable long term plan that should lead to a much healthier state of mind.
As such, examples of how the money will be spent include doubling the availability of counselling services targeting anxiety and depression, which are shockingly common problems today. Another proposed plan involves getting more mental health specialists into job centres, where they should be able to offer direct support to the people who need it the most in this context.