We’ve been involved with the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on a Fit and Healthy Childhood’s paper asking the Government to reinstate the cancelled 10-year Mental Health Strategy, including six recommendations for what it should look like.
McPin has added its voice to growing calls for the Government to bring back the Mental Health Strategy, a 10-year plan to address an alarming rise in mental illnesses across the UK.
To support this, McPin’s Research Director and co-founder Vanessa Pinfold submitted evidence along with 23 other sector leaders, to build the case for why it is so important to have a clear and specific mental health 10-year strategy.
Background to the strategy
In 2022, the Government launched a call for evidence to help produce a long-awaited 10-year mental health strategy, which was due to be published this year. However, in January, Health Secretary Steve Barclay announced it was being scrapped.
Instead, mental ill-health would be rolled into a new ‘Major Conditions Strategy’, addressing physical health problems such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia, muscular skeletal diseases and respiratory diseases.
This move disappointed the mental health sector, and in February, 14 mental health charities wrote an open letter to the Prime Minster calling for a dedicated strategy for mental health.
This week, a letter from 40 academics, health practitioners, charity bosses and lived experience experts, has again asked Rishi Sunak to reverse his Government’s decision to scrap the 10-year Mental Health Strategy.
The new Report – called The Major Conditions Strategy: A 10-year failure for Mental Health – provides strong evidence for why this is needed.
The Report outlines – among other things – six recommendations to the Government for what a 10-year strategy to improve mental health should include. They are:
- Prioritising prevention and increasing public awareness.
As 75% of lifelong mental illnesses begin before adulthood, the provision of evidence based mental health support from a professional in every school can help prevent lifetimes of suffering.
- Facilitating early intervention and timely access to services.
Reduction of waiting times and improving access to practice and evidence-based treatments and therapies are essential to avoid the escalation of mental health conditions.
- Promoting integrated, holistic services and addressing health inequalities.
It is essential that a 10-year Mental Health Plan should be cross-governmental and include co-ordinated action to reduce child poverty and inequality.
- Guaranteeing sustainable funding for research, mental health services and workforce development.
By ringfencing funding for mental health services and research, we can ensure the long-term availability of vital mental health provisions.
- Growing the workforce and capacity building.
The authors of the report make the case for a focused expansion of the mental health workforce to sit alongside the newly proposed NHS workforce plan announced by the Government.
- Partnership working and dynamic collaboration between government agencies, healthcare and education service providers and other organisations.
Such a plan will only work if it wins the collective support of policymakers and all stakeholders working together to make it happen.