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Mind responds to Queen's Speech 2021

Tuesday, 11 May 2021 Mind

Vicki Nash, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Mind says:

“We cannot underestimate the impact that the pandemic has had on the nation’s mental health – whether that’s bereavement, the devastating loss of life, the impact of lockdown, or the impact of the latest economic recession on our jobs and livelihoods. In the past year, we’ve seen an increase in the number of people contacting us about their mental health and a surge in demand for our information including via our website, Infoline and our local Minds services across England and Wales. Today’s Queen’s Speech is a missed opportunity for the UK Government to really set out how they plan to level up inequality across the country and meet demand for mental health support.”

Employment Bill

“Over the last year, the pandemic has thrown all of our lives into some form of uncertainty, many of us not knowing what is around the corner. But for lots of people these feelings of worry were all too acute before the pandemic. Nobody should be worrying about having enough money to put food on the table, or whether you can work enough hours to pay the bills. It’s incredulous to see no mention of the Employment Bill in today’s Queen’s Speech, which is especially concerning given the UK Government’s talk of levelling up.

“We know that rates of people working, but still living in poverty have risen sharply – and that unpredictable, low paid jobs, which don’t support people’s wellbeing, can have a devastating impact on people’s mental health. The UK Government needs to make sure people in and out of work are offered stability and protection, as we recover from this pandemic, this includes prioritising flexible working and making sure that those who need time off for their mental or physical health, are protected and receive enough money through Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to get by.”

Mental Health Act White Paper consultation:

“Given the scale of mental health demand and the disproportionate use of the Mental Health Act on people from racialised communities it is critical the UK Government sets a public date for new legislations to be introduced. This must be backed up by increased funding, including capital funding to make sure that mental health settings are safe, fit for purpose and offer a therapeutic environment so people can get the support they need and deserve when at crisis point for their mental health.”

Social care:

“The complete lack of measures to address the long-standing issue of social care funding and reform in the Queen’s Speech are concerning. Local authorities desperately need additional funding for social care. Mental health social care services funded by local authorities can provide people severely affected by mental health problems with a supported home and help them achieve their goals to integrate back into the community. Feeling lonely or isolated can have a huge impact on our mental health, which we have seen far too acutely as a result of the pandemic. Mental health care services and additional social care support could help prevent those at risk of developing mental health problems for the first time as we come out of lockdown and recover from the pandemic.”

Conversion therapy ban:

“We’re pleased to see that Conversion Therapy will finally be banned, which is long overdue, and needs to happen immediately, we see no need for further consultation. Conversion therapies involve psychological intervention, which aim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Any type of conversion therapy is based on intolerant, inaccurate and outdated assumptions about gender and sexual orientation and can cause a great deal of psychological distress to a person, leading to feelings of isolation and low self-esteem. This can lead to longer term mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, self-image problems, incidences of self-harm and suicide. Instead we should be making sure services are better for people who identify as LGBTQIA+, who need support for their mental health.”

Health and Care Bill

“We’re concerned at absence of mental health within new structures proposed by the White Paper published earlier in the year. The NHS must make good on commitments to make sure people get the same level of care for their mental health as their physical health. We want to see mental health at the heart of these proposals, including making sure people with long term physical health problems can get the support for their mental health they need too.”

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