The next UK Government should make mental health a priority and focus on tackling some of the biggest inequalities in our society, Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sarah Hughes said today.

Launching the Centre’s briefing on Priorities for the next Parliament, Sarah Hughes said: “The 2017 General Election comes at a time of unprecedented public and political awareness of mental health. We hope that all political parties will seek to build on the progress that has been made in recent years and ensure that mental health is a priority for the next Government. We believe that change is possible and people’s lives will be improved by concerted action for better mental health.”

We believe that change is possible and people’s lives will be improved by concerted action for better mental health.

The Centre is making five recommendations based on our research that will change people’s lives and reduce some of the starkest inequalities in our society. They are:

  1. Prisons and immigration removal centres (IRCs) need a profound culture shift to become ‘psychologically informed environments’.
  2. The next Government should support GPs, midwives and health visitors to recognise mental health difficulties among new mothers and get priority access to talking therapies.
  3. The next Government should offer people with mental health problems support without sanctions when they want help to get into work.
  4. More support needs to be made available to children with behavioural difficulties and their families.
  5. The next Government should invest in suicide prevention and support local authorities to develop effective strategies to save lives in their communities.

The Centre is also a member of the Mental Health Policy Group, which produced a shared Manifesto for Better Mental Health earlier this week. It calls on the next Government to commit to improving mental health support, building on last year’s Mental Health Five Year Forward View, and for increased funding for mental health services in every year of the next Parliament.

It is now time to put the evidence into practice and make a difference in communities across the country

Sarah Hughes said: “Fair funding for mental health services for children and adults, combined with investment in public health and social care, are vital to ensure more people get better help more quickly for their mental health. We know from research that earlier help works and averts costly crises. We know that effective support with employment can change people’s lives. And we know that suicide prevention work saves lives. It is now time to put the evidence into practice and make a difference in communities across the country.”