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03.05.17

Mental health coalition calls on next government to commit to FYFV ambitions

A Manifesto for Better Mental Health has been launched by the Mental Health Policy Group (MHPG) this week ahead of the snap election that will take place on 8 June.

The manifesto sets out the key policy points that the UK’s politicians should look to address to improve the state of mental healthcare in England.

It stated that all parties should re-commit to fully implementing the vision laid out in the Five Year Forward View for Mental health, as well as a funding settlement post-2020 to provide crucial investment in mental health services.

The Policy Group is a coalition made up of representatives from six organisations: Mind, Rethink Mental illness, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Mental Health Foundation and the Centre for Mental Health and NHS Confed.

“In recent years, we have seen major policy changes at a national level with plans agreed to help more people to access treatment and support,” the manifesto read.

“The work of campaigns like Time to Change, Heads Together, and the voices of many thousands of people with lived experience of mental health problems have helped change attitudes for the better and tackle the stigma surrounding mental health.”

However, the MHPG said that these developments highlighted how far care in the UK had to go to provide sufficient support for people living with mental health problems.

“Two-thirds of people with a common mental health problem do not get the treatment they need from health services. Others receive too little, too late, slowing their recovery and damaging their life chances,” they said.

“Too many people are still losing their lives to suicide. People with mental illnesses are still more likely to be out of work or homeless than others. And day to day, many people still face routine discrimination and stigma.

“We call on all political parties in England to commit to bringing mental health to the heart of government,” MHPG concluded. “This manifesto sets out four specific areas where significant improvement is needed.”

The manifesto demands that the new government should ensure fair funding for mental health, amounting to increased investment of £500m annually – something which would provide an additional £1.78bn in 2021-22 compared to 2015-16.

Another key aim in the manifesto was to provide children with a better start in life, as it stated that families should be helped through evidence-based parenting programmes whilst support should also be put in place to give schools the tools they need to protect and promote the mental health of young people.

On top of that, the group also said that services for people struggling from mental health issues needed to be improved to keep up with increased demand. 

As part of this, the groups called on the next government to push forward with the FYFV and undertake a full review of the Mental Health Act, as well as commit to a greater focus on inequalities in care for people in certain minority ethnic groups.

Finally, improving the lives of people suffering from poor mental health was seen as a top priority, as MHPG said that the issue of tackling mental health stigma had to be dealt with. According to the group, nearly nine out of 10 people with a mental health problem say they have faced discrimination because of their condition.

The announcement of the manifesto also follows NHE England announcing that half of A&Es in the country would have specialist mental health units by 2019.

Top Image:  Dominic Lipinski, PA Wire

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