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Manifesto for a mentally healthier nation

27 February 2024

Mental health in the UK is getting worse. Sickness absence due to mental health problems is soaring, rates of poor mental health are increasing at an alarming rate, and already overstretched services are struggling to meet rising demands.

In this UK general election year, over 60 of the country’s biggest organisations with an interest in mental health, representing millions of voters, have come together to develop and promote these policy ideas, drawn from A mentally healthier nation.

Manifesto for a mentally healthier nation calls on all political parties to commit to a ten-year, cross-government plan for mental health, and to include commitments to the following in their manifestoes ahead of the forthcoming general election:

  • Prevention: By effectively addressing social determinants, like poverty and discrimination, and environmental factors, including housing and pollution, more of us can have better mental health. Investing in giving children the best start in life and in more powerful public health infrastructure is also key to preventing illness and promoting better health.
  • Equality: Discrimination and disadvantage mean that risks to mental health are much higher in some groups, such as racialised communities. People with mental health difficulties are often treated less well in the social security and justice systems. Building a mentally healthier nation requires concerted action to tackle these inequalities and close the health gaps between different groups.
  • Support: Everyone should be able to get timely access to local mental health services when they first need them. By properly resourcing these services, minimising the use of coercion and widening access, especially for children and young people, we can majorly improve people’s mental health outcomes.

Investing in better mental health, by both creating conditions for people to thrive and by resourcing infrastructure to support people experiencing mental health difficulties, needs to be a top government priority. Without concerted action, the crisis will deepen, with major implications for already stretched health and social care services, as well as the economy and wider society.

We’re calling for all political parties to include the policies detailed in the report within their election manifestoes, and deliver them in the next Parliament.

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We’re dedicated to eradicating mental health inequalities. But we can’t do it without your support.

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