Political parties must prioritise mental health in their manifestos

General Election 2024 news, Press release
20 December 2023

Today the Royal College of Psychiatrists has published Preventing mental illness: Our manifesto for the next UK general election.

Calling upon political parties to commit to preventing mental illness, the College outlines why mental health must be prioritised ahead of the next General Election.

It sets out five priority areas:

  1. Reducing the occurrence and, therefore, the prevalence of severe mental illness.

  2. Reversing the mental health crisis

  3. Achieving parity of esteem between physical and mental health

  4. Supporting the mental health workforce

  5. Equitably funding mental health research and data collection to improve understanding and facilitate innovation.

Dr Lade Smith CBE, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:

“The public mental health emergency is real. It is devastating the lives of thousands of people, while psychiatrists and mental health services are over-stretched and under-resourced amidst the ongoing impacts of the cost-of-living crisis, wars and displacements, the climate and ecological crisis, and the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Significantly more people require mental healthcare in the UK than the number receiving it. People not accessing the mental health treatment they need exacerbates their ill-health, which only widens major health inequalities in the population.

“But many mental health conditions are avoidable and can be cured if treated early. There is a clear need for cross-government prioritisation, with ministerial support, to prevent mental illness. We need investment in high-impact, evidence-based public mental health interventions to catch behaviours indicating a developing mental health condition at the earliest possible stage, preventing them from persisting and impacting people for the rest of their lives.

“This is why we are calling on all political parties to prioritise the prevention of mental illness in their manifestos.”

Campaigning for better mental health policy

Our Policy and Campaigns team leads the College's work to improve mental health care through work with partner organisations – including the Mental Health Policy Group – and government.

Find out more

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