Chancellor's Spending Review announces 'breakthrough' £600m for mental health

Chancellor George Osborne announced an additional £600m funding for mental health in his Spending Review yesterday pledging that by 2020 more people will have access to talking therapies, perinatal mental health services and crisis care.

Former care minister Norman Lamb described the Government's cash injection into mental health services as a "breakthrough" and said that "getting mental health recognised in this way is certainly progress".

Despite welcoming the funding annoucement mental health organisations such as Rethink Mental Illness warned there was still more work to be done.

Tom Miller, the charity's public affairs officer, said the money was good news and "certainly makes the point that mental health is still squarely on the political agenda".

"But there is still more work to do. The £600 million simply replaces the amount that was taken out of mental health funding in previous cuts. It will not bring spending to anywhere near being on an equal footing with NHS spending on purely physical health issues."

Mind, as part of a coalition of mental health organisations called the Mental Health Policy Group, issued a response to the Spending Review.

The group's chair Andy Bell said there were "sizeable question marks" around many of the wider issues facing people with mental health problems.

"We are particularly concerned about potential cuts to public health budgets and continued pressures on social care and housing, which all have the potential to have a major impact on people with mental health problems and their families.

"We are simply not investing enough in preventing mental health problems in the first place, leaving people to become more unwell and in need of more long-term and costly treatment."