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Mind responds to Boris Johnson's speech at the Conservative Party Conference

Wednesday, 06 October 2021 Mind

Responding to Boris Johnson's speech at the Conservative Party Conference, Vicki Nash, Head of Policy, Campaigns and Public Affairs said:

“While we welcome the Prime Minister’s re-commitment to reform social care, we were disappointed the Prime Minister did not mention mental health and the impact Covid19 has had on the nation. Right now 1.6 million people are on a waiting list for mental health support or treatment, and a further eight million people can’t even get on the waiting list because of the current thresholds to access care. In order to recover from the pandemic, 'level up' the country and reduce inequality, mental health must be at the heart of recovery plans with a concerted cross-government response.

“The impact of the pandemic has been felt even more by our children and young people, who have had their lives and education disrupted, reflected in increased mental health need and severity. Parents and carers are telling us they are struggling to get their child support and treatment, often facing lengthy waiting times, or being turned away. This is simply not good enough.

“There can be no levelling up while 4.2million families see a £20 a week cut to their financial support, which puts food on the table and provides heating through the winter. Mind’s research showed that only 28 per cent of people in receipt of benefits feel hopeful about their future and are more likely to self-harm as a coping mechanism. These are more than statistics. These are people who deserve to be hopeful about the future. The £500 million Household Support Fund is a drop in the ocean and does not go far enough to support families. As we face an increased cost of living, we’ll see even more people - including those in paid work – pushed into poverty.

“Actions speak louder than words. There is still time to do the right thing and prioritise mental health in the upcoming Spending Review. The UK Government must make good on its commitment to level up by reforming social care, reducing inequalities, and preventing people from being pushed into poverty, while making sure people get the financial, social, and health support they need and deserve. Key to all this is funding early support hubs across England to make sure young people can get the mental health support they need, and investing in mental health services to tackle waiting lists for treatment.”

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