Towards Mental Health Equality

A manifesto for the next Prime Minister

‘Towards mental health equality: a manifesto for the next Prime Minister’ is produced jointly by the Mental Health Policy Group, comprising of Rethink Mental Illness, Centre for Mental Health, Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Network, Mind and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Together we represent mental health service providers, professionals and hundreds of thousands of people who use the NHS. This manifesto sets out five key areas that the next Prime Minister must address in order to improve the lives of people with mental health problems and promote the mental health of the nation. 

It is seven years since the Health and Social Care Act said the NHS would give mental health parity with physical health – setting out an ambition that mental health should always be treated with the same priority and value as physical health. Since this time, there is no doubt we have seen significant progress in mental health policy.

'A Manifesto for Better Mental Health', published by The Mental Health Policy Group before the 2017 General Election, highlighted where urgent improvements were needed. Since then we have seen welcome improvements in several of these areas.

These include:

  • A commitment to implementing the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health and the publication of data to measure progress against these recommendations.
  • Mental health being made a central priority in the NHS Long Term Plan, including vital additional funding for mental health services and an important focus on prevention and addressing health inequalities.
  • A full independent review of the Mental Health Act, with a commitment to publish a White Paper by the end of 2019.
  • Ongoing government support for the Time to Change campaign to tackle stigma and discrimination against people with mental
    health problems.
  • Commitment to supporting people with mental health problems at work by implementing the recommendations from Thriving at work: a review of mental health and employers.
  • The appointment of the first Minister for Suicide Prevention.

Mental health is now clearly established as a national priority. However, when fewer than four in ten people who need support are accessing mental health services, there is still a long way to go on the road to equality.

In this manifesto, we set out five areas that the next Prime Minister must address in order to improve the lives of people with mental health problems and promote the mental health of the nation.

These areas are: 

  • Take action to prevent mental illness
  • Create a cross-government plan for mental health and establish a ‘mental health in all policies’ approach across government
  • Reform the Mental Health Act
  • Ensure everyone can access the right mental health support, in the right place, at the right time
  • Build a mental health workforce fit for the future

By addressing these areas, the new Prime Minister will lead the way towards mental health equality and bring us closer to the ambition of a fair deal for mental health.

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