Ministers must tackle poverty, poor housing and air pollution to improve England’s deteriorating mental health, a coalition of charities, think tanks and staff organizations has called on ministers.
Their blueprint for improving mental health includes cracking down on racism, reforming the welfare system and ending the deep inequalities that cause people with serious mental illnesses to die up to 20 years earlier than the general population. It also includes actions to achieve this goal.
Their ideas are contained in a report published by the Center for Mental Health on Wednesday, which builds on policy proposals submitted by 35 major organizations.
These include charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, counseling service Place2Be and children’s charities including the Children’s Society.
Sustained action is needed as the number of people suffering from mental illness in the UK has increased in recent years due to coronavirus, austerity and the cost of living crisis, the coalition says.
Dr Sarah Hughes, Mind’s chief executive, said: “An unprecedented number of people are struggling with their mental health and the UK’s support services are in a desperate situation.” She said: “A record number of people are waiting for the treatment they need.”
The report found that the growing number of people suffering from mental health conditions (8.2 million people live with at least one condition such as anxiety or depression) is leading to “preventable misery, deaths, excessive demand for services and It warned ministers it was causing “a drop in economic productivity and costs tens of dollars.” Billions of pounds. ”
It sets out other measures to be included in a 10-year plan to improve mental health. They include:
New Child Poverty Act to end child poverty by 2030.
Creation of a guaranteed minimum income and reform of sick pay.
Behavior towards junk food, smoking, alcohol, and gambling.
The end of “hostile environment” immigration policies.
Last April, Health Secretary Steve Barclay called for evidence to help develop a 10-year “health and wellbeing plan” and a separate suicide prevention plan. However, in January this year, the former was scrapped and instead incorporated into the much broader Major Disease Strategy. The strategy is still in development and also targets cancer, heart disease and other major causes of death.
Future governments should start applying “mental health tests” to all policies they plan to implement to ensure they help tackle mental ill-health, the 35 organizations added.
Sean Duggan, chief executive of the NHS Confederation’s NHS Specialist Trusts Mental Health Network, said the NHS was responding to the growing need for care, including new access targets, and said: “We need to transform health services,” he said.
However, he stressed the importance of addressing the social determinants of ill health, adding: “By reducing the number of people who develop mental health problems in the first place, we can ensure that those who need help receive the mental health support they need. The continued lack of investment in the NHS represents a crisis for the entire NHS.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We will further accelerate the transformation of the country’s mental health services, investing up to an additional £2.3 billion a year until 2024 to expand services and provide mental health services to an additional 2 million people.” Stated. Get them the support they need. ”
They added that the Key Conditions Strategy would be “informed” by evidence submitted by mental health authorities last year on the now-defunct Dedicated Strategy.