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Politicians must commit to building a mentally healthier nation, say national charities

27 February 2024

A coalition of over 60 charities is calling on political parties to make a major commitment to mental health ahead of the forthcoming general election.

National charities including Centre for Mental Health, Mind, the NSPCC and Marie Curie are backing A Mentally Healthier Nation, a ten-year plan for mental health prevention, equality and support in England. Today, the charities behind it are also publishing Manifesto for a mentally healthier nation, which sets out the key actions political parties can commit to take to make that vision a reality from the start of the next Parliament.

Manifesto for a mentally healthier nation says that all political parties should commit to tackling poverty and racial injustice, reforming the benefits and justice systems, and further investing in better and more equitable mental health services.

The charities’ call for action comes as rates of poor mental health in the UK continue to rise, driven by years of austerity, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the cost-of-living crisis. With sickness absence from work at a 13-year high, and a sharp rise in mental ill health among teenagers, the manifesto says a cross-government ten-year plan is needed to address the scale of the issue.

Manifesto for a mentally healthier nation ­­says that investing in better mental health can make a big difference. But if politicians fail to prioritise mental health, the crisis will deepen, with disastrous implications for already-stretched health and social care services, as well as the economy and wider society.

The manifesto says that ending child poverty and improving housing are critical to building a mentally healthier nation. It says that all political parties should commit to combat racial injustice and create a fairer benefits system. And it calls for further investment in mental health services, introducing clinically backed waiting time standards, modernising the Mental Health Act, and expanding mental health support to all schools.

The coalition of charities is calling for all political parties to include actions from the report within their election manifestoes, and deliver them in the next Parliament.

Andy Bell, chief executive at Centre for Mental Health, said: “Mental health matters to all of us. The actions we have set out in A Mentally Healthier Nation will improve quality of life in communities across the country. We call on all political parties to commit to policies that will create better mental health, backed up by resources to continue to expand and reform mental health services.”

Tag: Policy

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