Proposed Amendment on Mental Health

Mental Health

Briefing on our Proposed Amendment on Mental Health

Britain’s mental health is at its worst since 1997 with increasing morbidity and a worsening suicide rate1, because of recession and savage cuts to public services which disproportionately affect the most vulnerable.

A clear focus on enhanced well- being and the promotion of mental health within schools, workplaces and general hospitals is needed to reduce the economic and social burden of mental ill health 2.

Labour will instruct the Care Quality Commission to make sure that all providers of mental health and social care services comply with the Equalities Act meeting the access needs of disabled people3 and the cultural needs of the BAME community4.

In addition, Labour will demand that all relevant authorities play an active part in improving the integration between physical and mental health services and deploy community development resources with the clear objective of strengthening the community and voluntary sector to deliver on our aspiration for better mental health and spiritual well-being for all local populations5.

Briefing Notes

1During the period of the last Labour Government up to the recession (1997-2007) the UK suicide rate fell from 13.65 to 10.9 (per 1000,000); during the recession (2007-2011) this figure rose to 11.9 (ONS 2013). The increase was most marked for working age males (aged 45-59) and females (aged 30-44). The suicide rates in the North East of England and Wales continue to be the highest in the UK (ibid.). The number of people accessing NHS mental health services had risen from 1,016,220 to 1,022,734 with the proportion of those receiving some form of treatment (e.g. on CPA) rising from 13% to 26% (HSCIC 2011). Not surprisingly by 2011 the mortality rate among service users in 2011 was 3.6 times higher than the general population (NHSIC 2013).

2 There is growing recognition internationally that early intervention and prevention of mental illness is best achieved through good mental health literacy among the general public (Jorm 2012). Furthermore, there is growing evidence that good mental health promotion programmes are the most cost-effective way of increasing the mental health literacy of vulnerable groups (Khlat 2014) unqualified residential care staff (Markle-Reid et al. 2014) and the general population (Koh 2014).

3 While the current government have been focussing on eliminating same sex wards they have done little to help improve access to mental health services for physically disabled people. There is a growing recognition that this is becoming a significant problem particularly among occupational therapists (e.g. Miles 2013; Morley 2013), who are also experiencing the pressure of financial reform (Heasman and Morley 2012).

4 It is now well known that Afro-Caribbean men are more likely to be detained under the mental health act and more likely to be treated in forensic settings than any other racial group. The CQC is aware of this issue and trying to do something about it (CQC 2011).

5 It seems indisputable to most public service workers and community activists that the concept of ‘community health’ is a heavily contested political term and one therefore that is usually best defined by the indigenous/local population (Baisch 2009). Other fairly malleable concepts, such as an individual’s “recovery” from illness or addiction, are increasingly being interpreted in terms of the resilience to stress (Berkers and Ross 2013) and spiritual wellbeing (Whitely 2010) of their local communities. Thus, major mental health charities have recently started investigating the broader  links between crime, policing and mental health within local communities with some fascinating results (Mind 2014); at the same time third sector services in this area have become weakened through top-down restructuring, private-sector competition, complicated subcontracting and a multiplicity of commissioning arrangements (see e.g. Clinks 2013).


Baisch, M.J. (2009) Community health: an evolutionary concept analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 65(11), 2464-2476.

Berkes, F., Ross, H. (2013) Community Resilience: Toward an Integrated Approach, Society and Natural Resources, 26(1), 5-20

Care Quality Commission (2011) “Care Quality Commission looks ahead as last Count Me In census is published” (accessed 07/2014)

Clinks (2013) “Findings from a consultation with Probation Trusts on commissioning and the Voluntary and Community Sector” (accessed 07/2013)

Health and Social Care Information Centre (2011) Mental Health Bulletin – Fifth report from Mental Health Minimum Dataset (MHMDS) annual returns, 2011. (accessed 07/2014)

Heasman, D., Morley, M. (2012) Introducing prioritisation protocols to promote efficient and effective allocation of mental health occupational therapy resources. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 75(11), 522-526

Jorm, A.F. (2012) Mental Health Literacy Empowering the Community to Take Action for Better Mental Health, American Psychologist, 67(3), 231-243

Khlat, M. (2014)Factors influencing report of common mental health problems among psychologically distressed adults. Community Mental Health Journal, 50(5), 597-603

Koh, E. (2014) Art promoting mental health literacy and a positive attitude towards people with experience of mental illness. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 60(2), 169-174

Miles, H. (2013) Developing mental health occupational therapy practice to meet the needs of people with mental health problems and physical disability, British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 76(12), 556-559

Mind (2014) “At Risk; Yet Dismissed: The criminal victimisation of people with mental health problems.”

Morley, M. (2013) The role of occupational therapy in promoting equal access for mental health service users with physical disability. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 76(6), 287-290

Markle-Reid, M., McAiney, C., Forbes, D., Thabane, L., Gibson, M., Browne, G., Hoch, J.S., Peirce, T., Busing, B. (2014) An inter-professional nurse-led mental health promotion intervention for older home care clients with depressive symptoms. BMC Geritrics,  14, [online preview].

National Health Service Information Centre (2013) Mental Health Bulletin: Sixth report from Mental Health Minimum Dataset returns – England 2011/12, initial national figures. (accessed 07/2014)

Office for National Statistics (2011) Suicides in the United Kingdom, 2011. (accessed 07/2014)

Whitley, R. (2010) Recovery: A Dimensional Approach, Psychiatric Services, 61(12), 1248-1250