NSUN network for mental health is an independent, service-user-led charity that connects people with experience of mental health issues to give us a stronger voice in shaping policy and services.

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Boris deputy gets NSUN advice

24 January 2014

NSUN spoke at the launch of a report showing that poor mental health in London costs £26 billion.

The new London Health Board is prioritising mental health after NSUN and others lobbied government to change the priorities of its predecessor the London Health Improvement Board which failed to recognise psychological conditions

Sharing a platform with deputy mayor Victoria Borwick NSUN’s Ed Davie welcomed the promise of greater efforts but asked that pressure was put on central government to spread resources fairly.

Audit Commission research says the poorest local authorities in London and elsewhere, providing services to those with the greatest mental health needs, have carried a greater cuts burden than their more affluent counterparts.

Guardian research published shows that the wealthiest areas in London got the most generous public health funding settlements. City of London, Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea are getting the most money per head with the City’s £192 per person dwarfing much poorer areas with far greater mental health needs.

University of Durham research says the new formula to allocate money for health services could promote ‘substantial’ inequality – Camden for example will lose more than a quarter of their funds whilst Hampshire gains 14 per cent.

The Mayor’s report said that close to £7.5 billion is spent each year to address mental ill health in London. This includes spending on health and social care to treat illness, benefits to support people living with mental ill health, and costs to education services and the criminal justice system. However, these costs are only part of the total £26 billion lost to London each year through such issues as reduced quality of life and productivity.

Boris Johnson said: 'This report is a rallying cry to increase yet further our response to this very pressing and pervasive issue. There are still many misconceptions about what mental ill health is, how it happens and what can be done about it. The result is that those struggling with mental ill health often go unnoticed and unsupported. It affects our relationships with others, limits educational achievement and increases sickness absence and worklessness. Indeed, the effects of mental ill health impact upon each and every aspect of our lives.'

Launching the new report London Mental Health – The Invisible Costs of Mental Ill Health, Deputy Mayor Victoria Borwick said: 'This timely report reveals how far-reaching the effects of mental ill health are, not just on individuals and their loved ones, but on wider society and indeed the economy. It shows that this is not just an issue for health and social care professionals, but also for politicians and business leaders. It is vital that we work together to support people living with mental ill health and to mitigate the wider impacts which are so costly to London's economy.'

Mental ill health is one of the priority areas identified by the London health Board, and the Mayor is keen that it is an issue that will be considered through the London Health Commission led by Lord Ari Darzi. The Deputy Mayor Victoria Borwick will also advocate for the issue, including representing the Mayor at the Pan-London Dementia Action Alliance and by acting as a mental health champion as part of the Local Authority Mental Health Challenge.. Mental health is also an issue the health team at the Greater London Authority wants to be integrated more as part of well-being activities being coordinated through the Mayor's Healthy Schools London programme.

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