2019 General Election: Mental health priorities for the new Government
6 November 2019
We’re at a critical moment in the nation’s mental health. The topic has never been more prominent in public debate, and we’ve seen progress in awareness raising and pledges of investment in mental health services.
Yet in the midst of this, too many people still aren’t getting the support they need. Poverty and inequality still make people more likely to experience a mental health problem.
Ahead of this December’s General Election, we’re calling on all political parties and the future Government to take concerted action to improve the nation’s mental health and the lives of people with mental health difficulties.
We’ve identified twelve steps that the next Government should take to improve mental health for all and reduce inequalities in mental health across society:
- Produce a cross-government mental health strategy that seeks to maximise the nation’s wellbeing and reduce inequalities. This would include putting mental health in all policies, ensuring that all decisions made by government seek to boost wellbeing and reduce inequalities.
- Commit to fund and implement the NHS Long Term Plan for mental health services, including delivery of the Community Mental Health Framework.
- Create a fair and sustainable settlement for social care that recognises the needs of people of working age who require support for their mental health.
- Reform the education system to enable schools, colleges and universities to support young people’s wellbeing.
- Reform the criminal justice system to make better use of community rehabilitation opportunities, to reduce the prison population and to make prisons safer by putting wellbeing first.
- Reform employment support and social security, including ending the use of benefit conditions and sanctions for people with mental health difficulties who are out of work, changing the way disability benefits are assessed and expanding access to Individual Placement and Support.
- Invest in local public health services to boost mental health and prevent losses of life through suicide.
- Commit to implement the recommendations of the Independent Mental Health Act Review in full. This includes introducing legislation in the next Parliament for a modernised Mental Health Act, providing capital funding for the NHS to update its mental health estate, and taking concerted action to reduce racial disparities in the Mental Health Act.
- Take action to build a mental health workforce for the future.
- Take action to reduce by one third the number of people with a mental illness who die prematurely, including through the provision of effective smoking cessation services.
- Support parents, families and children by investing in a national programme to expand access to evidence-based parenting interventions, and by funding specialist counselling for parents who have been bereaved by still birth or baby loss.
- Support mental health online and through digital media, including a balanced approach to social media and supporting the public service workforce to use digital media.
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