The Royal College of Psychiatrists is one of more than thirty organisations that have collaborated on an important new report calling for a ten-year cross-government strategy in order to prevent mental illness, tackle mental health inequalities, and improve services.
Mentally Healthier Nation, published on 27 September, offers a powerful vision for the future of mental health and mental health services covering the following overarching areas:
- Prevention: Give children the best start; Improve people's security; Create physically healthier environments; and Boost public mental health infrastructure
- Equality: Tackle racism in all its forms; Set a target to close the health gap within a decade; Reform our social security system; Reform the justice system
- Support: Fund mental health services fairly; Tackle long waits for mental health support; Give children and young people easy access to mental health support; Modernise the Mental Health Act
Signatories of this document believe that a long-term, comprehensive, cross-government plan is essential to protect and promote the whole nation’s mental health. The policies outlined in the document will form a key part of the College's engagement and campaigning work in advance of the next UK General Election.
The report calls for further investment in mental health services, building on the progress made in the first five years of the NHS Long Term Plan. It makes a case for the need to fund mental health and social care services fairly, and implement new access standards to end long waits for essential services. It also calls for urgent action on children’s mental health services, including 100% coverage of mental health support teams, and a national network of young people’s early support hubs.
Dr Lade Smith CBE, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists said:
“Years of underfunding and lack of investment in mental health services has left many people without the life-changing support they need. At this very moment we are in a cost-of-living crisis which poses an acute threat to the country’s mental health whilst services reel from the lasting impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a backlog of 1.2 million people waiting for community-based mental health care.
“This is not a problem that will fix itself, mental health must be treated with the same urgency and attention as physical health. To do this we need an ambitious cross-sector and cross-government vision for the future of mental health and mental health services. This includes modernising the Mental Health Act, expanding children and young people’s access to mental health support and tackling long waits for mental health support. The blueprint to change lives for the better is here, the Government must use it.”