People are more concerned about their mental health than dementia, obesity and heart disease, a new poll has revealed. In fact, public concern about mental health has doubled in the last year.
The survey, based on more than 1,700 people in England, found 32% identified mental health as “the public health issue they were most concerned about”. This compares to 16% when the survey was last conducted.
This sharp increase means mental health is now the second largest issue people are worried about, second only to cancer, which 41% listed as their main concern.
The research was conducted by Ipsos Mori and was commisioned by NHS Providers, NHS Clinical Commissioners, the Royal College of Physicians and National Voices – a coalition of charities that stands for people being in control of their health and care.
Those surveyed were asked about their views towards NHS funding and their priorities when receiving care.
When asked to consider the NHS over the next few years, 21% reported that they expect it will get better, whilst 31% said it will stay the same and 46% said it will get worse.
More than two in three (68%) said urgent and emergency care such as A&E and ambulance services should be a priority for additional health and social care funding. Investment in mental health services was the next main priority (58%) for additional spending, followed by community and adult social care services (40%) and children’s services (40%).
When asked what is most important to them when receiving non-emergency care, 38% of people reported that receiving the highest quality of care is most important. A total of 21% of people said that short waiting times was most important, and 11% of people said that being treated close to home was most important.
Commenting on the polling, Ben Page, chief executive of Ipsos MORI, said: “The public continue to show strong support for the NHS as it approaches its 70th anniversary. However, there is real concern about the future funding of the NHS, and a majority agree it needs more money.
“If the NHS does receive more money, asked where it should go, the public prioritise A&E and emergency services – often the public face of the NHS – but also mental health services, often a Cinderella service. This suggests the public may have a more sophisticated understanding of the multiple challenges facing local health services. Either way, if government needs to raise taxes, spending it on the NHS is about the most popular thing they can do.”