The health secretary said incentives will be offered to people looking to work in mental health in order to achieve the government aim to create 21,000 new roles by 2021.
Chris Munday, CEO of Christian charity Crossways Community told Premier that while the plans were “great”, he had concerns.
Speaking on the News Hour he explained: “Work-force planning, which is what is being planned here, is a long-term strategy. That’s great but we all know that long-term strategies by their very nature, take a long time to come through and there are crises happening in mental health here and now that need to be resolved.”
The government is also promising to increase the number of nurses, therapists and psychiatrists to treat an extra 1 million people in the next four years.
The plan is already facing criticism from nurses’ groups and politicians.
The Royal College of Nursing have said the timeframe doesn’t “add up” and Shadow mental health minister Barbara Keeley thinks the timeframe is overly ambitious as well.
But health secretary Jeremy Hunt insists the plan is achievable.
He said: “Yes we’ve got to put the money in but also we’ve got to have the people there who can actually deliver that care.
“I think that’s what in the past governments on all sides have not done right – they’ve recognised the money bit has to happen but they haven’t got the proper strategic work-force planning right.”
Munday told Premier he believes the money will be well spent.
He added: “I think people are the key. I think qualified, empathetic caring professionals are what we want. So I think this is a good use of money – absolutely.”
Munday said that while mental health is no longer a taboo subject in the Church, it still a subject the Church and Christians find difficult to “wrestle with”.
He explained: “I think there is a lack of information out there, there is a lack of support for Churches who want to tackle mental health issues in their congregation. And I think for many Christians there is still some working through of the whole issue of mental health.
“You know, as Christians, we believe that we have answers to a lot of questions and sometimes mental health poses questions to which we find difficult to find answers in our faith. I think the other issue is that a lot of Christian ministers suffer from mental health problems but feel unable to share those with their congregation or even more privately.”
The Government has committed £1.3bn to transform mental health services with a pledge to provide services seven days a week, 24 hours a day and properly integrate mental and physical health services for the first time.
Listen to Chris Munday speaking with Premier’s Tola Mbakwe: