Over 30 mental health organisations, including MQ Mental Health Research are joining together to call on all political parties to make a commitment to mental health in their election manifestos.
What are we calling for?
MQ, along with 35 other mental health organisations, are calling for ALL political parties to adopt the mental health policies outlined in A Mentally Healthier Nation in their manifestos ahead of the coming genral election.
These recommendations focus on prevention, equality and support.
Prevention: By improving economic and environmental circumstances, especially for the poorest people, we can reduce mental and physical illnesses. Investing in more powerful public health infrastructure is also key to preventing illness and promoting better health.
Equality: The burden of mental ill health does not fall equally, with poorer, racialised and other marginalised communities being disproportionately affected, and people with severe mental illness living 20 years less than average. The next government can reduce inequalities by taking meaningful measures to tackle discrimination and promote fairness.
Support: With the right support from properly resourced services, people are more likely to enjoy better mental health outcomes. Support needs to be boosted with a long-term investment in mental health services, significantly reduced waiting times and more local services.
Why is MQ joining these calls?
We, along with the other signatories in this report, believe that a long-term comprehensive cross-government plan is essential to protect and promote the whole of the UK’s mental health.
Earlier this year MQ called on the Government for a long-term strategy for mental health, following the scrapping of the 10-year mental health plan. This was through a report published with the All Party parliamentary Group for a Fit and Healthy Childhood.
The Report was written by 23 experts and took an evidence based approach focused on achieving the best outcomes for children and young people and vulnerable peoples mental health.
In May MQ researchers published a landmark paper that addressed the premature mortality among people with severe mental illnesses. The Gone Too Soon Roadmap was published in the Lancet and included recommendations for all sectors of society, including policy makers, to help prevent suicides and other deaths linked to mental illnesses.
The cost-of-living crisis is just the latest in a series of events that have worsened the circumstances of many people’s lives and placed public services under severe strain.
Last month MQ published a report into the impact the cost-of-living was having on mental health and made recommendations for all sectors about how to better protect individuals.
These included recommendations to the government and policy makers such as reshaping economic and social policy to tackle inequalities, and materialising the actions stated in the NHS Action plan and Mental health Equalities Strategy.
Disappointingly it looks like this evidence is being ignored as mental health has slipped even further down the government’s priority list. Now there are growing concerns that the draft mental health bill which is working its way through parliament currently might even be scrapped before the next Kings speech.
The evidence is clear that mental health must be high on the manifesto agenda’s of all political parties, and this call from the mental health sector as demanding just that.
Why do we need this now?
The combination of deteriorating living conditions, rising waiting lists and weakened support has led to rapidly worsening mental health outcomes nationally.
The increase in mental ill health is resulting in tens of thousands of premature deaths, millions of people suffering, and tens of billions of pounds of economic cost every year due to health and social care costs, and loss of productivity.
But there is hope: properly funded and managed programmes like Improving Access to Psychological Therapies through the NHS, and the Better Mental Health Fund, where councils were supported to prevent ill health, prove that positive change is possible.
Read more about building a mentally healthier nation and share with your MP, councillors and parliamentary candidates to join us in calling on candidates and politicians to make better mental health for us all a priority.