THE UK on Tuesday (12) started a call for evidence to form a new 10-year mental health plan to level up mental health across the country and put mental and physical health on an equal footing.
People with lived experience of mental health conditions and those who support people with mental ill-health are urged to respond to a 12 week call for evidence, a statement said.
The call for evidence is part of the new 10-year mental health plan and a refreshed National Suicide Prevention plan seeking views on what can be improved within the current service, and will close on 5 July.
Around one in five adults in Britain experienced some form of depression in the first three months of 2021, over double pre-pandemic figures.The government has provided £500 million funding to support the groups most impacted, including children and young people and those with severe mental illness through the Mental Health Recovery Action Plan.
The call for evidence will support the development of a plan which aims to prevent and mitigate the impacts of risk factors on mental health and suicide, particularly for groups who experience disparities.
According to the statement, the 10-year plan builds on the NHS Long Term plan and forms a key part of the commitments to address health disparities across the country and to improve the mental wellbeing of the nation by 2030.
“The pandemic put unprecedented pressure on people across the country. While we continue to expand and transform our mental health services under the NHS Long Term Plan to meet rising demand, we know we need to go further. Too many people, particularly our children and young people, do not have the tools and support they need to look after their wellbeing or prevent mental health problems from escalating,” said health secretary Sajid Javid.
“We all have a role to play in resetting the way we approach mental health and our new 10-year plan will set an ambitious agenda for where we want the mental health of the nation to be a decade from now.”
Minister for mental health Gillian Keegan said: “Across the country, no matter your background, you should have the opportunity to grow up in, and stay in, good mental health. I want anyone who needs mental health services to be able to access them.
“I encourage everyone, especially those who live with a mental health condition, carers and our brilliant workforce, to share their views on how we improve mental health services and reduce disparities across the country.”
The plan will also look at how initiatives across government including green social prescribing, online harms and Thriving at Work can work together to ensure people’s daily practical, social and emotional needs are being met, as well as how to fully harness the potential of technology and data to support better mental health, and incentivise the private sector to play its part.
NHS England’s national mental health director Claire Murdoch said: “The pandemic has naturally taken a toll on the nation’s mental health, so there is no better time for everyone to have their say on how we as a society can improve people’s mental wellbeing over the next decade. Improving people’s mental wellbeing requires action from all parts of our society, so it is vital that as many people as possible from all walks of life respond to this call for evidence.”
Dr Alex George, Youth Mental Health Ambassador, said: “We have made great progress in reducing the stigma associated with mental ill-health, but there is still work to do. Too many people still don’t know where to turn to for support or can’t access help early enough.
“Let’s continue to tackle the stigma that surrounds mental health – let’s respond to this call for evidence and all start a national conversation so that in 10 years from now, the mental health of the nation will be better supported. I am keen to see the outcomes of this consultation followed by adequate funding.”