The Mental Health Policy Group – a coalition of six organisations working together for better mental health – has launched a Manifesto for Better Mental Health as the new Prime Minister takes up post.
The Mental Health Policy Group which is made up of colleagues from the Mental Health Network, Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, Royal College of Psychiatrists, Mental Health Foundation and the Centre for Mental Health.
The group says it’s vitally important Mr Johnson establishes a clear direction for mental health policy. Whilst Brexit still dominates much of the wider political debate, the group wants to make sure that mental health remains high on the agenda. The Manifesto for Better Mental Health therefore focuses on five key asks of the new Prime Minister.
Take action to prevent mental illness
This request includes:
- Asking for a commitment to work with employers to ensure they support the mental wellbeing of their staff. This will involve implementing the recommendations from Thriving at work: a review of mental health and employers.
- Continuing to fund the Time to Change campaign at its current level to help end the stigma and discrimination often experienced by people with mental health issues.
- Prioritising funding for public mental health as part of the upcoming Spending Review and committing to reversing cuts to local authority public health budgets.
Create a cross-government plan for mental health and establish a ‘mental health in all policies’ approach
This would include:
- Reforming the social housing system so it better meets the needs of people with mental health issues.
- A sustainable funding model for supported housing to ensure everyone who needs supported housing is able to access it.
- Guaranteeing that anyone with a serious mental illness who wants help with employment is able to access Individual Placement and Support.
- A long-term sustainable approach to social care funding, which is complementary to improvements in mental health services support.
Reform the Mental Health Act
As part of this, Government would need to:
- Promote race equality in mental health services and close the gap in the access, experience and outcomes between different ethnic groups.
- Use the forthcoming Spending Review to provide urgently needed investment in new staff and estates fit for the 21st century.
Ensure everyone can access the right mental health support, in the right place, at the right time
This ask would require:
- Vital capital funding to be provided as part of the Spending Review, essential for effectively delivering the NHS Long Term Plan.
- Tracking progress against the commitments in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health and NHS Long Term Plan, including funding commitments, to allow scrutiny and accountability to deliver better mental health services.
- Making the Equalities Champion a permanent appointment with a major role in monitoring the impact of delivery on people at increased risk of poor mental health.
- Increased investment in mental health research to identify the most effective interventions.
Build a mental health workforce fit for the future
This would mean:
- Ensuring the workforce strategy utilises the full breadth of the mental health workforce and makes use of the expertise in the voluntary and community sector. This should include expanding the use of peer support workers and availability of independent advocates.
- Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of staff across the mental health workforce and encouraging more staff working in mental health services to stay in the NHS and social care.
The group also wants to see the new Government re-commit to the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan as well as a funding settlement post 2020 which will provide vital increases in investment for mental health services.
Read the full manifesto and share your thoughts below.