NSUN is one of over 30 national organisations coming together to call for a long-term mental health plan for England by supporting ‘A Mentally Healthier Nation‘, published today by the Centre for Mental Health.
The report sets out what a long-term government mental health plan for England could look like. It calls for action to tackle poverty and racial injustice, for reforms to the benefits and justice systems, and for further investment in better and more equitable mental health services. It calls for urgent action to reduce the 20-year life expectancy gap for people with severe mental illness, an end to ‘hostile environment’ policies, and a fairer benefits system.
It focuses on three key areas: prevention, equality and support. It sets out concrete policies to be adopted as part of a ten-year, cross-government mental health strategy, ideally to begin in the first year of the next parliament. We are calling for all political parties and parliamentary candidates to include these ideas in their manifestos ahead of the next UK General Election.
Prevention: By effectively addressing social determinants, like poverty and discrimination, and environmental factors, including housing and pollution, more of us can have better mental health. Investing in more powerful public health infrastructure is also key to preventing illness and promoting better health.
Equality: Discrimination and disadvantage mean that risks to mental health are much higher in some groups, such as racialised communities. And people with mental health difficulties are often treated less well in society, including in the social security and justice systems. Building a mentally healthier nation requires concerted action to tackle these inequalities and close the health gaps between different groups.
Support: Everyone should be able to get timely access to local mental health services when they first need them. By properly resourcing these services, minimising the use of coercion and widening access, especially for children and young people, we can majorly improve people’s mental health outcomes.
We’re calling on MPs and parliamentary candidates to adopt these policies, include them in their parties’ election manifestoes, and deliver them in government.