FIXING the 'car crash' that is mental health services would not take a great deal of money. Not my words, but those of the outgoing head of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Professor Sue Bailey.
What she missed from that sentence was that the investment in the correct care of vulnerable adults would repay itself incrementally.
Mental health services are often the Cinderella of the NHS. The tragedy is that with the right approach and the correct funding in place, society would benefit by integrating everyone into communities and the value premium would outweigh any initial investment.
There have been some great initiatives. The government has given a commitment that mental health should be given priority within the NHS and the experiment of street triage is welcomed, where a psychiatric nurse attends incidents with police where people with mental health problems could be involved. But there is still a long way to go and the costs involved are not toe curling.
Here at ubu we have long campaigned for a different approach to the care and costing of services for the vulnerable and those at risk. Our uStep model has evolved to provide independent living for these people, who previously were locked away from society.
It pays dividends for our consumers and for society. People we support, dramatically improve within weeks. Even the most complex cases demonstrate an improvement in their own well being and become less reliant on others as their confidence grows, they achieve their life goals and start to live more independently.
We offer a value premium for society. With greater independence our consumers need less support and assume greater control of their own lives, so their overall cost to society reduces; it’s a continuing programme. Over time their improvements increase and their reliance on society reduces. They become fully integrated independent members of their local communities.
It isn’t about saving money but it is an added bonus. What is really important is that the individuals at the heart of uStep achieve independence.
Recently, clinicians have been resorting to the costly move of sectioning adults to ensure they get treatment as other options have disappeared. That is another costly move and one that should be avoided at all costs.
Society has to realise that a small upfront investment would be quickly repaid and continue to make returns, its simple maths!