Mental Health policy proposals

Fulfilment of repeated high level commitments to ‘parity of esteem’ for mental health, and urgent implementation of proposals set out in the cross-agency Five Year Forward View for Mental Health (Feb 2017), including:

  1. parity of funding for prevention of, treatment services and related social care for, and research into mental ill-health treatments including psychological alternatives to medication; and funding to get research findings into clinical practice more quickly;
  2. a new integrated National Service Framework for Mental Health, urgent review and reinstatement of national standards for mental health service provision, including for access to services;
  3. greatly enhanced services for children and young people with mental health problems (anxiety, depression, self harm are increasingly prevalent), including collaborative mental health & wellbeing provision in schools and colleges, increased numbers of health visitors and school nurses, ready access to specialised mental health services (CAMHS), an increase in inpatient provision to avoid children and young people being admitted to hospital far from family and home, and specialist provision for eating disorders, post sexual abuse and other post-traumatic disorders, autistic spectrum disorders, ADHD, and drug abuse;
  4. urgent review of the escalating incidence of suicide, and urgent updating of suicide prevention strategies;
  5. continued development of integrated services which jointly address mental, physical and social needs, especially for children, women in the perinatal period, people with learning disabilities and associated mental ill-health, people with serious mental illness, and older people with multiple physical and mental conditions and related social needs;
  6. urgent reduction of mortality rates for people with serious mental illness who still die 15-20 years before those without SMI;
  7. greatly improved cross-agency provision for people with acute mental health emergencies, including mental health / police interface services and crisis intervention services – including helping friends and families to cope. We should treat mental health crisis with same import as other medical crises.
  8. reversal of austerity-driven and counter-productive reductions in psychiatric in-patient bed numbers;
  9. reversal of the ill-considered and austerity-driven dismantling of specialist mental health teams (eg for early intervention in psychosis, people with complex needs, assertive outreach)
  10. breaking down of stigma should be a fundamental part of a mental health strategy – more information about mental illness / how to help self / early intervention.

This document is one of a series developed by the SHA that underpin our recommendations for the Labour Party Manifesto. Each has been developed with contributions from many experts and curated by Brian Fisher through an SHA Policy Commission. They remain in draft and have not been approved by SHA Central Council. They offer an opportunity to explore policy in more detail through debate. They are timely as the NHS is such a key part of the election.