“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 today. 

Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement today that the Government will take action to prevent mental health difficulties and commit to reforming the Mental Health Act, Sarah Hughes said: “The Prime Minister spoke on her arrival in Downing Street about the injustices that too many people with mental health problems face today. The independent Mental Health Act Review set out a credible and robust plan for tackling some of those injustices. They include the far higher levels of compulsion among people from some Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. We therefore welcome the Government’s commitment to pilot the proposed Patient and Carer Race Equality Framework and to legislate to end the use of police cells as Places of Safety.

“We call on the next Prime Minister to commit to completing this important task and implementing the Review’s recommendations in full in when the Government’s white paper is published later this year. That must include a commitment to fund an overhaul of the outdated and inadequate hospital buildings that are still used in some places for psychiatric wards.

The independent Mental Health Act Review set out a credible and robust plan for tackling some of those injustices... We call on the next Prime Minister to commit to implementing the Review’s recommendations in full.

“We also warmly welcome the Prime Minister’s other commitments today towards improving mental health in schools and communities and to preventing suicides. The gap between evidence and practice in the prevention of mental ill health remains wide. Today’s pledges will help to close some of the gap, for example by supporting young families through the Healthy Child Programme, by training all new teachers about mental health and by boosting the implementation of local councils’ suicide prevention plans. 

“The Government must go much further on prevention. From funding effective parenting programmes to putting mental health at the heart of all policies across government, there is more to do to bring about an end to the injustices the Prime Minister has sought to address. 

“The last three years have seen some significant steps forward in mental health policy. The Government’s commitment to increase NHS spending on mental health support, particularly for children, should have major long-term benefits. We are already seeing improvements in the support available to new mothers and for people wanting help with employment. But at the same time, public health and social care services in local government have seen continued cuts, and people with mental health conditions still face damaging sanctions from the benefits system. 

“The Prime Minister’s pledge to tackle the burning injustices in mental health has sent a clear message through Whitehall and across the country that things have to change. And while a lot still has to change in practice, we hope that mental health will never again be ignored at the heart of government. We hope that the next and all future Prime Ministers will build on Theresa May’s legacy to make equality for mental health a reality.”