Rethink Mental Illness 'deeply disappointed' at shelving of 10-year-plan for Mental Health and Wellbeing

24 January 2023


Mark Winstanley, Chief Executive of Rethink Mental Illness, said: 

“We are deeply disappointed to learn that the government is shelving its 10-year cross-government Mental Health and Wellbeing Plan.  This decision signifies a failure to prioritise the nation’s mental health and challenge the causes of mental illness at the very moment that demand for support is soaring.  

“It’s critical that we improve support for people living with multiple health conditions – many people living with mental illness struggle with their physical health too. But mental health care is still playing catch-up from decades of under-funding, and after the impact of the pandemic finds itself trying to meet rising need and complexity. It is short-sighted and costly to continue to ask the NHS to shoulder full responsibility for mental health while we do little to reduce demand for its services.

We originally hoped that the plan would have coordinated action from all relevant government departments, including for example the Department for Work and Pensions whose actions have led to deaths and serious harm to people living with mental illness. Not only have we lost the opportunity to create meaningful cross-government action to support the nation's wellbeing, but this move also ignores the contributions of thousands of people with lived experience of mental illness who fed into the extensive consultation process to underline what needs to change.  

“At a time when we see weekly, harrowing news coverage of people living with mental illness being desperately let down through the lack of universal access to good quality mental health care and support, we recognise that in the last 20 years progress has been made by governments of various stripes to promote and protect the nation’s mental health. We very much hope this disappointing development does not herald an end to that hard-won progress. 

“In the consultation process the government challenged us to be ambitious in our responses and think beyond the status quo, and it is regrettable that they have now chosen to disregard their own advice, and with it this clear opportunity to improve the nation’s mental health.”