Labour launched their manifesto today, Tuesday 16 May, which included the following mental health pledges:
“We will extend schools-based counselling to all schools to improve children’s mental health, at a cost of £90 million per year.
“In order to protect services, we will ring-fence mental health budgets and ensure funding reaches the frontline.
“Labour will invest in early intervention by increasing the proportion of mental health budgets spent on support for children and young people. We will ensure that access to a counselling service is available for all children in secondary schools.”
BACP has long campaigned for universal access to a trained school-based counsellor for all secondary schools across the UK. Despite Wales and Northern Ireland having national school-based counselling strategies, England and Scotland have yet to demonstrate a similar commitment to children’s mental wellbeing.
The Labour manifesto also commits to parity of esteem between physical and mental health and calls upon the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to review the range of psychological therapies offered.
“Giving mental health the same priority as physical health means not only ensuring access to services, but also making improvements, to those services. Choice is important in a modern NHS, and patients who receive their therapy of choice have better outcomes. Labour will therefore ask the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to evaluate the potential for increasing the range of evidence-based psychological therapies on offer.”
Plaid Cymru’s manifesto, released today, has made a mental health pledge underlining the role of counselling as a mental health intervention:
"Having already secured an extra £20 million for mental health treatment as an effective opposition party in the National Assembly, we will continue to call for increased funding and improved access to trained counsellors and therapists in the community.”
We will be updating you further as other parties launch their manifestos.