A 24 hour mental health crisis hotline will be created as part of new plans outlined by the government in today's budget.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said new services would "enable the stigma causing too many people to suffer in silence and too many to die by suicide to end."

The government say a fully-costed 10-year-plan for the NHS will be revealed shortly.

A "sneak preview" of how mental health would be supported was delivered in Hammond's speech, with general references made to funding:

  • Comprehensive crisis support in every accident and emergency room
  • Children and young people's crisis teams in every part of the country
  • More mental health ambulances
  • More safe havens in communities

Health and social care minister Matt Hancock nodded approvingly as the commitment to a crisis hotline was announced.

"The tough decisions of the last eight years were not driven by ideology, but by necessity," Hammond said, insisting, "the era of austerity is finally coming to an end."

"We are no longer borrowing at all to finance current spending."

An itemised breakdown of mental health spending was not made immediately available.

It was suggested this would be delivered in a spending review next year.

The government says £2 billion will be allocated to the mental health initiatives.

Pressing need

"There can be few more pressing needs than the needs of those with mental illness," the Chancellor said.

Fiona Ritchie, Managing Director Mental Health and Learning Disability at Turning Point, said: "There are community services out there that can provide the support needed. But the reality is there are too few across the country overall. By investing in community support, together we can ensure that the best outcomes for people are achieved in the most efficient way."

Shadow mental health minister Barbara Keeley earlier said investment "is not new money" if it comes out of the £20.5 billion allocated to the NHS to mark its 70th birthday earlier this year.

120 organisations supported an open letter to the government last week calling on the Chancellor to put children at the heart of spending plans.

There is "compelling evidence that the services and support that children and young people rely on are at breaking point," signatories wrote.

Less than a third of children and young people with a diagnosable mental health problem are expected to get access to NHS funded treatment this year.