Mind has joined forces with several other mental health organisations to produce a manifesto, laying out what the next Government must do to improve the lives of people with mental health problems.
‘A Manifesto for Better Mental Health’ published today, has been written jointly by Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, Centre for Mental Health, Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Network and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
The manifesto sets out straightforward, practical changes that a future Government could make in order to ensure mental and physical health are valued equally.
Poor mental health carries an economic and social cost of £105 billion annually in England and business loses £26 billion due to mental ill health every year.
Just 25 per cent of adults with depression and anxiety get any treatment and only 65 per cent of people with psychotic disorder. Demand is also increasing. The number of people being referred to community mental health services went up by 13 per cent in 2013.
Despite the fact that mental health accounts for 23% of the disease burden, it gets just 13% of the NHS budget and funding has been cut even further for the last three years. The organisations are calling on any future Government to rebalance this funding inequality, to ensure spending reflects demand.
The Manifesto sets out five key priorities for action:
Fair funding for mental health - Commit to real terms increases in funding for mental health services for both adults and children in each year of the next Parliament.
Give children a good start in life - Ensure all women have access to mental health support during and after pregnancy. Raise awareness of mental health by putting it on the national curriculum and training teachers and school nurses. Invest in parenting programmes across England.
Improve physical health care for people with mental health problems- Ensure Government targets for smoking reduction apply equally to people with mental health problems. Create a national strategy to stop people with mental illness dying early, due to preventable physical health problems.
Improve the lives of people with mental health problems – Continue to fund the Time to Change anti stigma campaign. Offer integrated health and employment support to people with mental health conditions who are out of work.
Better access to mental health services – Introduce maximum waiting times for mental health care and support, including psychological therapies. Commit to continued improvements in mental health crisis care, including liaison psychiatry services in all hospitals. Continue to fund liaison and diversion mental health services, working with police and the courts.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “Staying mentally healthy is one of the biggest challenges we all face today. There have been welcome promises on mental health in recent years and the main parties say they value mental and physical health equally, but funding for mental health services has faced more severe cuts than other services. Whoever forms our next government must make mental health a priority and ensure that everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets the support they need and the respect they deserve.”