The forthcoming general election will likely decide the composition of parliament for the next five years. While much of the discussion around this election is focused on questions of Brexit, leadership and the economy, parliamentary decision-making will have a huge impact on mental health policy over the next five years.
It is no exaggeration to say that there is a mental health crisis in this country.
Only 1 in 8 adults in England with a mental health problem are receiving treatment, and the most common form of treatment is medication. Anti-depressant prescription rates are the highest they’ve ever been – and still rising – while access to, and choice of, talking therapy remains extremely limited. There has been a steep rise in the number of people attending A&E in mental health crisis and an alarming rise in self-harm among our children and young people.
The reality is that mental health services continue to suffer from a lack of funding, poor workforce planning, a postcode lottery and far too many gaps in provision.
While all the major parties ramp up the rhetoric in response to growing concerns about our nation’s mental health, we need decisive action to be taken.
We need a parliament of politicians dedicated to fighting for better mental health services and more psychotherapeutically informed policy development across government.
That’s why we’re asking you to write to your local candidates, asking them to pledge their commitment to mental health – and their support for UKCP’s key election asks.
We’re calling for:
- access to a greater choice of talking therapies, ensuring more personalised mental health care for service users regardless of where they live.
- better services for people living with complex mental health needs – such as a personality disorder diagnosis – who too often fall in the gaps between primary and secondary care.
- the creation of a Chief Psychological Professions Officer to ensure the smooth delivery of the mental health workforce expansion outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan.
- their vote for any measures that would halt benefit sanctions for people with mental health problems.
- their support for a VAT exemption for counselling and psychotherapy to bring these professions in line with other physical and mental health interventions and remove a needless barrier to access.
It only takes two minutes to send an email to your local candidates. We have created a template message which you can send as it is or add your own comments to.
Let’s ensure that whoever your representative is on 13 December, they enter parliament with mental health on their minds.