An extra £1.25 billion will be spent on mental health services over the next five years, Nick Clegg has announced, PA reports. The Deputy Prime Minister said the money would help more than 100,000 youngsters struggling with mental health problems.Mr Clegg, who made the announcement during a visit to Clock View Hospital in Liverpool, said the way children had been treated before was an “institutionalised form of cruelty”.The £250 million a year funding will be confirmed in next week’s Budget.Mr Clegg said: “I think it will have a huge impact. You have got, on average, three children in every classroom in our country who have got mental health problems and are not being properly catered for, not being properly identified, not being properly supported.
This huge expansion – £1.25 billion over the course of the next parliament – will help around 110,000 children, children who at the moment are being let down by the system. “It’s an institutionalised form of cruelty, the way we allow vulnerable children with mental health problems to basically have to fend for themselves at the moment. “This big announcement I’m making is going to seek to change that. It won’t happen overnight, it will happen over the coming years.” He added: “It’s all part of a journey where we start, as a country, lifting the stigma that has surrounded mental health and making sure that we treat mental health in the same way as we do people with physical health problems.”
The funding will also help improve support for new mothers, who had previously struggled with a “second-class mental health service”, Mr Clegg said. “It is terrifying to think that in this day and age some new mothers are having to travel miles for treatment and others are even being separated from their newborn child This has to stop,” he said. “This funding will make sure they get the treatment and support they need so they in turn can give their children the best possible start in life.” Mr Clegg, who was in Liverpool for the Liberal Democrats’ spring conference, blamed some local NHS commissioners for failing to pass on previous Government funding for children’s mental health.
“Along with this extra money we are also saying, and NHS England is saying, to all local commissioners they have to give the right amount of money to mental health,” he said. “We need to have central government, that’s providing the money, working hand in glove with local decision-makers so that they don’t short-change local mental health trusts. “It is starting to change now, but I accept it is a big culture change because for far too long people in the NHS have not provided the amount of resources and support to mental health which it deserves.”