With a Snap General Election around the corner for the UK you will facing each of the political parties to be working hard for their bid for power with promises, party broadcasts, media hype and manifestos greeting you every day. With an election that will affect the future of the next five years, many of us would have already considered the topics of the Education System, National Health Service, Housing and Brexit, but what about Mental Health? Mental Health over recent time has had a greater focus, with promises made left, right and centre to improve the current services as well as attitudes. However with cuts in the Mental Health budgets it has often been thought that as a nation we are in a 'Mental Health Crisis', costing many lives across the UK. At the beginning of the year it was stated that there had been a rise from 500,000 to 1.7 million people seeking help for mental health related issues since 2010.
Whilst mental illness may not personally affect you, with 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental health problem each year the chances are it affects someone that you know. The system is currently severely underfunded, and though there will be no quick fix, responsibility lies within the political parties to follow through with their promises to ensure that people will receive the support that they need. Could this election be the turning point for Mental Health?
With Mental Health being pushed more on the political agenda lately, what exactly are the policies of the main political parties in regards to Mental Health? The information found below has been taken directly from political party manifesto's to aid you in making an informed decision on June 8th. Remember, no matter your political beliefs, everyone has a right to vote and everyone has the right to use that vote in a way that best suits them. As Jo Cox said "We have far more in common than that which divides us". Allow this election to unite us, not divide us.
Information has been taken directly from the Labour Party Manifesto which can be found here.
Mental ill-health is the biggest unaddressed health challenge of our age. Around one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. Yet, since 2010 mental health funding has been cut, the number of mental health nurses has fallen by 6,600 and remaining mental health budgets have been raided to plug holes elsewhere in the NHS. Labour will work to reverse the damage done to mental health services under this Tory government, which is particularly hitting services for LGBT and BAME communities. We promise to bring an end to the neglect of children’s mental health. Half of people with mental health problems as adults present with symptoms by the age of 14. Yet, across England only 8 per cent of mental health funding goes to services for children and young people. In recent years, referrals to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services have increased by two-thirds, and the number of young people presenting to A&E units with psychiatric conditions has doubled. Suicide is now the most common cause of death for boys aged between five and 19. Labour will invest in early intervention by increasing the proportion of mental health budgets spent on support for children and young people. Improving the quality of social care is a vital part of providing dignity in older age and independence and support for people who are vulnerable or have a disability or a mental health condition. Prison should always be a last resort – the state’s most severe sanction for serious offences. It should never be a substitute for failing mental health services, or the withdrawal of funding from drug treatment centres.
In order to protect services, we will ring-fence mental health budgets and ensure funding reaches the frontline.
We will end the scandal of children being treated on adult mental health wards and stop people being sent across the country, away from their support networks, to secure the treatment they need by bringing forward the ending of out-of-area placements to 2019.
We will ensure that access to a counselling service is available for all children in secondary schools.
Give mental health the same priority as physical health means not only ensuring access to services, but also making improvements, to those services.
Labour will ask the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to evaluate the potential for increasing the range of evidence based psychological therapies on offer.
We will extend schools-based counselling to all schools to improve children’s mental health, at a cost of £90 million per year.
We will introduce a new Index of Child Health to measure progress against international standards, and report annually against four key indicators: obesity, dental health, under-fives and mental health.
We will set up a new £250 million Children’s Health Fund to support our ambitions. Labour will implement a Tobacco Control Plan, focusing on issues of mental health and young smokers.
We will work towards a new model of community care that takes into account not only primary care but also social care and mental health.
We will review the provision of mental health services in prisons.
Conducted research via the Health and Care Policy Commission into early intervention and prevention of mental health, and how to achieve equality between physical and mental health. You can find the research here.
Information has been taken directly from the Conservative Party Manifesto which can be found here.
Since 2010 we have increased spending on mental health each year to a record £11.4 billion in 2016/17, with a further investment of £1 billion by 20/21, so that we can deliver the mental health services people deserve. We will now build on this commitment. The current Mental Health Act does not operate as it should: if you are put on a community treatment order it is very difficult to be discharged; sectioning is too often used to detain rather than treat; families’ information about their loved ones is severely curtailed – parents can be the last to learn that their son or daughter has been sectioned. Theresa May has promised a new Mental Health Treatment Bill with an aim to produce a “sweeping reform” of mental health legislation in the UK.
We will address the need for better treatments across the whole spectrum of mental health conditions.
We will make the UK the leading research and technology economy in the world for mental health, bringing together public, private and charitable investment.
We will reform outdated laws to ensure that those with mental illness are treated fairly and employers fulfil their responsibilities effectively.
We will introduce the first new Mental Health Bill for thirty-five years, putting parity of esteem at the heart of treatment.
We will transform how mental health is regarded in the workplace.
We will amend health and safety regulations so that employers provide appropriate first aid training and needs assessment for mental health, as they currently do for risks to physical health, and extend Equalities Act protections against discrimination to mental health conditions that are episodic and fluctuating.
We will consider the findings of the Stevenson-Farmer Review into workplace mental health support, working with employers to encourage new products and incentives to improve the mental health and wellbeing support available to their employees.
We will train one million members of the public in basic mental health awareness and first aid to break the stigma of mental illness
David Cameron injected £1bn into mental health services in 2016, but trusts had their budgets cut by 8.25 percent between 2010 and 2015 – an equivalent of £598m a year. You can find information on these budget cuts here.
Information has been taken directly from the Liberal Democrats Party Manifesto which can be found here.
In government, we fought tirelessly to reduce the historic inequality between the way physical and mental health are treated in the NHS and are proud of the strides forward we made. We legislated to give mental and physical health equality under the law. We introduced the first waiting time standards for access to treatment for mental health. We introduced the crisis care concordat which dramatically reduced the number of people who end up in police cells when they experience a mental health crisis; and we secured more money for children and young people’s mental health services. But we know that not enough resources reach front-line services and that in the fight for parity of esteem there is still a very long way to go.
Ringfence funding from within the one penny Income Tax rise, to provide additional investment in mental health.
Continue to roll out access and waiting time standards for children, young people and adults. This will include a guarantee that people will not wait more than six weeks for therapy for depression or anxiety and no young person will wait more than two weeks for treatment when they experience a first episode of psychosis.
Increase access to clinically- and cost-effective talking therapies so that hundreds of thousands more people can receive this support.
Examine the case for introducing a dedicated service for children and young people based on the Australian ‘headspace’ model and building on many excellent youth information, advice and counselling services.
Transform mental health support for pregnant women, new mothers and those who have experienced miscarriage or stillbirth, and help them get early care when needed.
Continue to promote and invest in the Frontline programme to fast-track exceptional graduates into children’s social work, as well as the Think Ahead scheme aimed at encouraging high-achieving graduates to pursue a career in mental health social work.
Ensure that no one in crisis is turned away, with new waiting time standards 19 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017 and better crisis care in accident and emergency departments, in the community and via phone lines.
End out-of-area placements, ensuring those admitted to hospital for mental ill-health are able to be treated close to home.
Ensure that all front-line public service professionals, including in schools and universities, receive better training in mental health.
Roll out the Liaison and Diversion programme nationally, helping to identify people who have mental health problems, learning disabilities, substance misuse or other vulnerabilities when they first come into contact with the criminal justice system.
Tackle stigma against mental ill-health, including by building on the good work done by organisations such as Heads Together and changing the standard of proof in suicide conclusions in the Coroner’s Court.
Ensure that LGBT+ inclusive mental health services receive funding and support.
Secured more than £1bn in the coalition government’s final budget to help revolutionise services for children and young people, introduced waiting times standards and built a plan to roll out talking therapies across England, benefitting more than 2.5m people.
Information has been taken directly from the Green Party Manifesto which can be found here.
Promise to push for “free education, a living wage for all and investment in mental health services”. Party leader Caroline Lucas has also discussed the mental health crisis, blaming the “bleak future” facing the country’s young people.
Bring mental health care in line with physical health care.
Ensure people experiencing mental health crises are supported close to their home and support networks.
Introduce mental health awareness training within the public sector and encourage a more open dialogue on the issue in wider society.
The Green Party is called for a three-day weekend, saying it would help alleviate ill health and rising mental health problems among a stressed and exhausted UK workforce.
The Green Party announced three mental health pledges in Worcester in May, promising to tackle Britain’s growing mental health crisis by to giving mental health parity of esteem with physical health and ensuring everyone gets the treatment they need.
Scottish National Party
Information has been taken directly from the Scottish National Party Manifesto which can be found here.
One in four of us experience mental health issues in our lifetime, so there is much still to do. Our new ten-year Mental Health Strategy includes 40 different actions – based around improving access to services and supporting earlier intervention which can be found here.
Increasing the mental health workforce.
Improving delivery of child and adolescent mental health services.
More appropriately trained staff in doctor's surgeries, A&E wards, Prisons and Police Stations.
A review of Personal and Social Education, counselling and pastoral guidance in Scottish schools.
£35m investment in the mental health workforce on top of the £150m pledged by the party in 2016
Employing an extra 800 mental health workers right across Scotland
In government, the SNP has appointed the UK’s first dedicated Minister for Mental Health and mental health spending is at record levels. We have also significantly increased the number of people working in child and adolescent mental health. The first UK government to set a waiting time target for mental health. Increased investment in mental health services with that number reaching £1bn this year for the first time.
Information has been taken directly from the Plaid Cymru Manifesto which can be found here.
We will continue to call for increased funding and improved access to trained counsellors and therapists in the community.
The party secured £20m in the 2017-18 budget for mental health services in Wales. They also challenged the Welsh Government to improve waiting times, particularly for mental health services for children and adolescents.
Please do make sure to look further into each party manifesto for an informed decision on all aspects in addition to their mental health policies. Please be sure to use your vote on June 8th, it is so incredibly important that YOU have a say in YOUR future, every vote counts! I hope this has been as interesting for you to read as it has for me and finally Happy Voting my lovelies!