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Nov 19, 2022, Somerset County Gazette: Habib Farbahi calls for more cash for mental health services

SW England

MENTAL health problems cost the UK economy at least £117.9 billion [$140B]annually according to a report published by Mental Health Foundation and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

The cost of mental health problems is equivalent to around 5 per cent of the UK’s GDP.

Mental health research in the UK is chronically underfunded compared with physical conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

In comparison the NHS England’s annual budget for the year 2019/20 was £150.4bn [$178.8B].

Adult social care costs increased to £26bn from £24bn [$29B] a rise of almost 5% in 20/21 before the inflationary pressures of 11.1% today.
According to the GOV.UK, Special educational needs (SEN) in England for academic year 21/22 are just under 1.5 million pupils in England.
An increase of 77,000 from 2021, both the number of pupils with an EHC (4% increase) and number of pupils with SEN support (12.6% increase).

The most common type of need for those with an EHC plan is autistic spectrum disorder and those with SEN support is speech, language and communication needs.

Currently SEN units are special provisions within the mainstream schools, where the pupils with SEN are taught mainly within separate classes for at least half of that time.

On the other side we have special schools such as Selworthy in Taunton with SEN provision such as autistic spectrum disorder, severe learning difficulty and profound and multiple learning difficulties. With limited capacity of 100 pupils for the whole of secondary school.

There are no schools providing education for children caught in the middle with Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD). That is where in my view more resources and capacity must be channelled, as resources are not there for mainstream schools to support MLD.

We need to work proactively, supporting families in early years settings and youth provision, in order to reduce the impact of mental health on future life chances of children. Somerset County Council under previous administration slashed these preventative services and consequently we are seeing exponentially rising demand for Children’s Services….

On November 14, two of England’s largest Tory-run local authorities, Kent and Hampshire have warned the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, that they will be forced to declare bankruptcy within the next few months because of the unprecedented financial crisis enveloping both councils. "Without a fundamental change either in the way in which adult and children social services are funded, or in our statutory obligations, all of upper-tier local government will soon go over the cliff edge.”…

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