We’ve backed a report that presents a range of policies to political parties ahead of the next UK General Election aimed at improving the nation’s mental health.

‘Mentally healthier nation: a 10-year, cross-government plan for better prevention, fairness, and support’, has been developed by some of the UK’s largest charities and mental health partnerships in response to rising concern over the UK’s worsening mental health.

It outlines how this can be achieved by doing more to prevent illness, promote fairer outcomes, and build earlier and better support services including in counselling, public health, and social care over the next 10 years.

It highlights how, even before and the cost-of-living crisis, mental health problems have been the most common cause of sickness absence and demand on NHS services.

We know from our surveys and engagement with members and services that more people are suffering with anxiety and depression, and that a growing number of children have asked parents if they can have counselling

School counselling services

It’s encouraging that the report acknowledges the importance of school and college counselling services, an issue we are campaigning on. We believe this would help meet the need of children and young people who fall through the gap between lower-level psychological support offered through Mental Health Support Teams and those who don’t meet the threshold for treatment at Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

It also recommends establishing a nationwide network of community-based early support hubs, another issue we are campaigning on. Our support and work on these issues has helped secure manifesto policy commitments from Labour and the Liberal Democrats.  

Close alignment with BACP policies

Many of the issues addressed in the report closely align with BACP policies. These include expanding the mental health workforce, reducing mental health inequalities, partnership working between voluntary and community sector, local authorities and NHS services, and sustainable funding for all three sectors to expand services and meet increased need.

Ben Kay, our Director of Transformation and Digital said: “We’re pleased to support the call from across the mental health sector to the next government to adopt these ideas which we believe would bring about significant improvement to mental health service delivery, provide increased access for more people and help meet the growing demand for psychological therapy.  

"The calls in the report align closely with our own policy recommendations to the next Government and we’ll be continuing work hard to secure additional commitments to expand access to counselling and psychotherapy, on top of those pledges already announced ahead of the general election.

“We know the economic situation is difficult but there is hope for positive change if the right actions are taken to address the range of factors that affect everyone’s mental health.  We believe that proper funding for psychological therapy services and better use and increased investment in the available counselling and psychotherapy workforce will deliver significant improvements, helping more people and reducing waiting times to life-changing support.” 

Read 'Mentally healthier nation: a 10-year, cross-government plan for better prevention, fairness, and support'.