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 service.
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. Our manifesto for the 2017 election promises:
- Ring-fence 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 and better crisis care in Accident and Emergency, in the community and via phone lines. This will enable us to end the use of police cells for people facing a mental health crisis.
- 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 frontline 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 like 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.