In response to the measures announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Autumn Statement and by the Treasury earlier in the week, Mental Health Matters Chief Executive, Jane Hughes, welcomed the additional funding for Veteran’s Mental Health but argued there were some missed opportunities to better support mental health.

Commenting on behalf of the charity, she said:

“As a partner in the delivery of Operation Courage In the East of England, South West and Midlands, we welcome the additional £10 million in funding for the Veterans’ Places, People and Pathways Programme to increase support for veterans who may need it.

However, the funding gaps that existed before this budget appear to be still left outstanding, unaddressed.

Earlier this month, the Health and Social Care Select Committee wrote to the Government asking them to respond to the funding concerns laid out by the mental health sector, including Mental Health Matters, for the Right Care Right Person Partnership to be rolled out nationwide.

With the King’s Speech omitting highly anticipated and crucial reforms to mental health legislation, we hoped the Autumn Statement would go some way to resolve the existing financial pressures on mental health services. We believe the wider NHS and the VCFSE sector will be left disappointed by the absence of that funding. Whilst the additional funding to enable the expansion of NHS Talking Therapies is positive, specifically increasing the number of sessions per treatment, we anticipate associated workforce challenges and how the funding streams will operate in practice.

Mental Health Matters would also like to express our concern about reports from earlier in the week on potential reforms to the welfare system which could see Universal Credit claimants who are sanctioned losing access to free prescriptions. It’s our concern that this could lead to people experiencing a decline in their mental health being unable to access medication to support the management of their condition, and lead to worse outcomes for individuals and further strain on mental health services”