The Care Quality Commission is to partner with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to review how they can use their regulatory powers to better support equality of access to mental health services.

Teachers will be trained to spot signs of mental illness under a range of policy changes to be confirmed by departing prime minister Theresa May today.

The practice of detaining people with mental health conditions in police cells will also end.

The former Conservative party leader will also provide an update on the government's response to last Mental Health Act review.

Review chair Sir Simon Wessely says the government has now accepted recommendations to "start to reduce the shameful ethnic disparities in the care of those with severe mental illness".

Downing Street Summit

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock will join Sir Simon at Downing Street today (June 17). NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens will also attend.

Writing in The Times this morning, the psychiatrist said: "If I was to sum [the Mental Health Act review] up in one phrase, it would be to repeat the view of one service user, who told me that 'looking back I can see why I needed to be detained at that time. I think it saved my life. But why did it have to be such an awful experience?' Why indeed?"

The government has today committed to ending the use of police cells as a place of safety under the Mental Health Act.

Prevention to be prioritised in schools

Mr Hancock, who yesterday backed Boris Johnson to replace Mrs May, has made 'prevention over cure' a cornerstone of his vision for the NHS.

The outgoing prime minister echoed that sentiment when previewing her schools announcement.

"We should never accept a rise in mental health problems as inevitable," she said. "It’s time to rethink how we tackle this issue, which is why I believe the next great revolution in mental health should be in prevention."

Teacher training will include lessons in identifying children who might have mental health problems.

The government has today promised access to "world-class teaching and training materials for all teachers to use in classrooms to meet the new requirements for mental health education for all primary and secondary pupils".

Earlier this year the Department for Education advocated a controversial platform called MindEd. Mental Health Today highlighted its dubious E-learning exercises, which appeared to demonstrate outdated and harmful views of mental health.

Downing Street has provided an update on how it plans to tackle race inequalities in mental health care:

  • Introducing a Race Equality Framework for NHS mental healthcare providers to work with their local communities to improve the ways in which patients access and experience treatment, and ensure data on equality of access is monitored at board level and acted on.
  • Launching a pilot programme of culturally-sensitive advocates in partnership with local authorities and others, to identify how best to represent the mental health needs of ethnic minority groups.
  • Forging a partnership between the Care Quality Commission and Equality and Human Rights Commission to review how they can use their regulatory powers to better support equality of access to mental health services.

'Burning injustices'

"Bringing the Mental Health Act up to date and tackling race inequalities are essential if we are to fulfil the Prime Minister’s pledge to end the ‘burning injustices’ in mental health in this country,” Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sarah Hughes said.

Professor Wendy Burn, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: "We fully support the need for a greater investment in prevention so that people can live happier, healthier and more independent lives."

"The Independent Review of the Mental Health Act was an important step in making sure that people get the support and care they need when they are at their most vulnerable. It is good to see the start of the implementation of the recommendations from the review particularly in the area of equality."

"But success will depend on continued commitment from future prime ministers to drive sustained investment and improvement across government departments."

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