Grab a cuppa, it’s a long one…
Here is a list of the main political parties in England, Wales and Scotland’s mental health policies to help you make an informed decision on June 8th. All information has been copied directly from the party manifesto to ensure that I have no bias on this article whatsoever. If you want more information to the parties other policies (which I strongly recommend you read before voting), I have left handy links at the end of each party.
“We will continue to rectify the injustice suffered by those with mental health problems, by ensuring that they get the care and support they deserve. So we will make sure there is more support in every part of the country by recruiting up to 10,000 more mental health professionals. We shall require all our medical staff to have a deeper understanding of mental health and all trainees will get a chance to experience working in mental health disciplines; we shall ensure medical exams better reflect the importance of this area. And we will improve the co-ordination of mental health services with other local services, including police forces and drug and alcohol rehabilitation services.”
MANIFESTO – https://www.conservatives.com/manifesto
MANIFESTO – https://www.greenparty.org.uk/green-guarantee/
“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.
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.
Labour will also 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. We will ensure that access to a counselling service is available for all children in secondary schools.
Giving mental health the same priority as physical health means not only ensuring access to services, but also making improvements, to those services. Choice is important in a modern NHS, and patients who receive their therapy of choice have better outcomes. Labour will therefore 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.”
MANIFESTO – http://www.labour.org.uk/index.php/manifesto2017
“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. We will:
- 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 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.
Medical research is vital for developing new and better treatments. We will fight the threat Brexit poses to medical research funding. We support the principle that all medical trials using public facilities or resources should comply with the Open Trials standards, and that a fair proportion of all public funding for medical research should be focused on research into mental ill-health. We also favour the further development of open access academic journals.”
MANIFESTO – http://www.libdems.org.uk/manifesto
“Where we are: Services available for those with mental health issues are poor and people lack the essential support that is necessary for their full participation in society.
Plaid Cymru’s answer: Having already secured an extra £20 million for mental health treatment as an effective opposition party in the National Assembly, we will continue to call for increased funding and improved access to trained counsellors and therapists in the community.
Where we can be: Timely access to good quality mental health services, and mental and physical health needs to be treated equally.”
MANIFESTO – http://www2.partyof.wales/actionplan17
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY
“Mental health is one of the most important public health issues in Scotland today. That’s why, in government, the SNP has made improving mental health services a priority – appointing the UK’s first and only dedicated Minister for Mental Health.
We’ve made big strides in mental health support in recent years. Funding is up 40 per cent since 2006 and the number of child psychology posts has doubled.
But, demand is also increasing and we must take action over the next parliament to improve mental health care in our communities, to support people living with mental health challenges.
Over the next five years we will invest an additional £150 million in mental health services and this year funding for mental health in Scotland will exceed £1 billion for the first time. We will also develop a new ten year plan to transform mental health in Scotland. This will be rooted in the ‘Ask once, get help fast’ approach, to ensure people get help at the first time of asking and within a clear timescale.
We also recognise that mental health problems affect one in five women during pregnancy or in the year after childbirth, which often causes significant difficulties for women and their families. This is why we are bringing together health professionals who work in perinatal and infant mental health to create a Managed Clinical Network for mental health. This expert group will look at how we can improve perinatal mental health to make sure pregnant and postnatal women receive equitable, coordinated access to mental health provision. It is also a clear sign of our determination to give mental health parity alongside physical health.”
MANIFESTO – https://www.snp.org/our_vision
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