Investing in England’s mental health

2021 Comprehensive Spending Review

The October 2021 Government Comprehensive Spending Review will lay out the Government’s spending plans for England over a three-year period, 2022 – 2025. 

This is a critical time for mental health investment. The pandemic has resulted in much higher levels of need, and a record number of patients being referred to mental health services.  Meanwhile, the planned introduction of mental health access standards (waiting time targets), and the planned reform of the Mental Health Act, mean that services are likely to become ever more stretched, without adequate investment.

In our submission to the Treasury, we outline where additional Government spending is needed. We identify three key areas for investment: buildings/estate, mental healthcare services, and workforce. 

  • Buildings/estate need investment to make them safer, more suitably therapeutic environments, providing patients dignity, and clinicians a pleasant working environment.
  • Mental healthcare services and wider social services need investment both to ensure people can get timely help in the right service, but also to help keep people as well as possible. 
  • Workforce needs investment so that we have a more sustainable mental health workforce supply to meet current and future levels of demand.

We make the case for ring-fenced capital investment of £3bn, plus £1bn for day-to-day spending, for buildings/estate and technology.

We also ask for an additional settlement for mental health revenue spending on services of £1bn in 2022/23, £1.5bn in 2023/24 and £2.4bn in 2024/25. This is over and above the ring-fenced investment already committed in the Long-Term Plan funding settlement.

We urge the Government to invest further in mental health. This will help overcome the lack of parity with expenditure on physical services. It will also enable services to overcome the current mental health crisis, resulting from the pandemic and accompanying restrictions. 

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