The government has approved an investment of £150 million in funding to April 2025, to further support people experiencing mental health emergencies across the UK.
A more tailored emergency care and support system within the community is to be put in place to help anyone experiencing a mental health emergency, with aims to establish specialised mental health ambulances, more crisis services and improved health-based places of safety.
It is hoped that the investment will help to ease pressures facing the NHS by allowing people experiencing – or at risk of experiencing mental health crises to receive care and support in more appropriate settings outside of A&E.
The funding will allow for the procurement of up to 100 new mental health ambulances, which will transport specialist staff directly to the patient to deliver support on the scene, or transfer the patient to the most appropriate place of care.
It will also fund up to 150 new projects centred around supporting the provision of mental health crisis response and urgent mental health care. The new projects include schemes providing crisis cafes, crisis houses and other similar safe spaces, as well new improved health-based places of safety.
In addition, improvements to NHS 111 and crisis phone lines will also be carried out to strengthen support for those accessing care.
Alongside planned projects throughout the country, the 150 schemes is said to support the wider government commitment to level up mental health and wellbeing including some of the most deprived local authority areas in England.
Programmes will also focus on preventative measures, which will include improving community mental health facilities and sanctuary spaces to help people before reaching crisis point.
NHS mental health director, Claire Murdoch, said: “As well as expanding capacity to meet record demand, the NHS is transforming mental health services to help people get more appropriate care when they contact services and this investment will see specialist mental health ambulances deployed, new crisis cafes opened, and existing facilities modernised, to deliver urgent and emergency mental healthcare to more people who need it.”