Tackling poor mental health in the UK must be a priority and is why I am pleased that Ministers have now taken steps to ensure that mental health conditions are treated with the same importance as physical health. The Government has committed £450m to improve access to psychological therapies, including depression, for adults, children and young people.
Patients needing treatment for a mental health problem can now choose where they get their care. In addition, waiting times for mental health treatment, including a maximum waiting time of 18 weeks for talking therapy are being introduced ensuring that 300,000 more people can access talking therapies, on top of the 600,000 that already receive them.
I am also greatly encouraged that Ministers have committed to improving mental health crisis care. That is why the Government has negotiated the Crisis Care Concordat. This sets out the standards of care people should expect if they suffer a mental health crisis and details how the emergency services should respond.
With regard to children's mental health, I know that the Government established a taskforce to look into this matter and I am pleased that the Chancellor has since announced over £1 billion to go towards improving access standards to mental health services for children. This will help over 110,000 children and alongside this, the Government will be providing £118m by 2018-19 to complete the roll-out of the Children and Young People's Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies programme.
This is a matter dear to my heart and one which I have already spoken to both Health and Education Ministers about.