Mental Health Policy

Thank you for contacting me about mental health.
I agree that tackling poor mental health in the UK must be a priority and Ministers have legislated to ensure it is treated with the same importance as physical health. Progress is being made with more Government money investment in mental health than ever before.
In February 2016, an independent Mental Health Taskforce published a new national strategy, setting out an ambitious vision for mental health services. 
To make these recommendations a reality, the Government will spend an additional £1 billion on mental health by 2020-21 to improve access to services so that people receive the right care in the right place when they need it most. This includes increasing the number of people completing talking therapies by 600,000 per year (an increase of two thirds) and helping 20,000 more people to find or stay in work through individual placement support and talking therapies.
A further £1.25 billion for perinatal and children and young people's mental health, helping professionals to intervene early and more than doubling the number of pregnant women or new mothers receiving mental health support; and training around 1,700 new therapists.  To support teenagers with eating disorders, the Government is investing £150 million.
The Government has also introduced the first-ever mental health access and waiting time standards, to ensure that 75 per cent of people referred for talking therapies to treat common mental health problems (such as depression and anxiety) start their treatment within 6 weeks, and 95 per cent within 18 weeks. These targets have been met and the latest data shows that in May 2016, 84 per cent of people waited less than 6 weeks and 97 per cent of people waited less than 18 weeks. Also, patients experiencing psychosis for the first time must be treated within two weeks.
I am encouraged to note that the Government has announced reform to mental health policy in the latest Queen's Speech, in order to continue to reduce the number of people detained in police cells under the Mental Health Act. You may be pleased to know that in October 2017, the Prime Minister announced that the Government would embark on a comprehensive review of the Mental Health Act, which has remained unchanged for more than three decades. This review will examine existing practices, and address the disproportionately high rates of detention of people from ethnic minorities. I am happy to note that the review will be led by Professor Sir Simon Wessely, a former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and he will consider the needs of all users of mental health services and their families, and improve the system's support for them during a mental health crisis.
I appreciate the concerns raised by Steve Reed MP in his Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill. I hope you are assured by the announcement of the independent review of the Mental Health Act, which will specifically address issues regarding detention, and how current practice can be out of step with a modern mental health system that must be responsive to the needs of service users and families. As I understand, the Government expects some of the solutions to lie in practice, leadership, and culture, as well as potentially legislation.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.