Mental Health Employees

The BBC reported recently that the Government has set a target to recruit twenty thousand mental health employees within the next few years. This is a welcome initiative and a recognition of the importance of mental health issues and the need to support those suffering. Is there adequate funding? Can enough individuals be recruited in that time frame? These and other questions put in doubt the possibility the recruiting target can be achieved.

First of all, about five thousand mental health employees have either left the NHS in the last six years through redundancy or simply moved on. Five thousand represents the deficit of mental health employees relative to those who came on board in that timeframe. Stress and low pay partially accounts for the attrition rate. Even if twenty thousand new employees can be attracted to the mental health field in the next few years, how many of those will be retained? There’s a long way to go, but for now there’s the recognition we need many more committed full time mental health employees or we slide closer to crises.