A plan of action for London: A new report on mental health from the Kings Fund
The Kings Fund have recently published a report called ‘Transforming mental health: A plan of action for London’ (Gilbert, Edwards, Murray, Sept. 2014), which describes a vision for the future of mental health provision in London. Tackling the costs of mental illness (almost £7.5 billion a year in London alone) has been identified as a priority by the London Health Board, and the report details worrying statistics regarding the prevalence of mental illness: it is the single largest cause of disability in the UK (contributing up to 22.8% of the total burden, compared to 15.9% for cancer and 16.2% for cardiovascular disease, according to the World Health Organisation in 2008). It also notes that the incidence of mental illness varies considerably between London boroughs, with some mental illness twice as common in deprived parts of London compared with the least deprived areas (People’s Inquiry into London’s NHS 2014). Other key findings include:
• People with mental health problems are at a higher risk of developing significant physical health problems, including preventable conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
• People with serious mental health problems die 20 years younger (on average) that the general population.
• Overall, the health, economic and social impacts of mental illness result in costs to the capital of an estimated £26 billion each year (Greater London Authority 2014)
• There are three important factors effecting London’s mental health needs which need to be considered: poverty, ethnic diversity and transience (people moving in and out and between boroughs)