On World Mental Health Day, RCPsych President calls on all political parties to prioritise mental illness

Statement / comment
10 October 2023

On World Mental Health Day (Tuesday 10 October), President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr Lade Smith CBE, calls on all UK political parties to prioritise mental illness.

“As the party conference season draws to a close, and parties prepare for the next general election,  I implore our political leaders to focus on the public mental health emergency gripping our country. 

“Having attended each of the major party conferences over the past three weeks, I’ve been struck by the collective need for the political parties to prioritise mental illness, which is avoidable and can be effectively treated if seen early.

“More than 2.5 million adults across the UK are currently out of work due to long-term sickness, of these 1.35 million are experiencing mental health problems.

“With one in five nursing and one in seven medical posts in NHS mental health trusts in England currently vacant, the number of people waiting for treatment continues to rise. In England alone, almost 1.4 million people with suspected mental illness are still waiting to start treatment.

“While patients are waiting, too many will end up in A&E in crisis where they are often forced to spend days waiting for an inpatient bed. These delays make recovery from mental illness so much harder and cost the NHS and the economy more in the long run. 

“The public mental health emergency is real. It is having a devastating effect on the lives of thousands of people, particularly children and young people.

“As we approach the General Election, I call on all our political leaders to prioritise mental illness by tackling our public mental health emergency, because there is no health without mental health.”<

See also our World Mental Health Day page for other activities that are happening this year. 

Mental health resources

The College has produced a wide-range of readable, user-friendly and evidence-based information on mental health problems, treatments and other topics, written by qualified psychiatrists with help from patients and carers.

Find out more

For further information, please contact: