The Manifestos: Mental Health

As many of you know, I do a lot of campaigning around mental health awareness. In this general election, support for those with mental illnesses is something which has cropped up in a number of manifestos. I looked at the manifestos of the main five parties and categorised them to see if I could make some sense of them, so here goes!

(Note: All policies, bar what is in italics, have been copied directly from their manifestos.)

Access – Location

  • Conservatives: We will now go further, ensuring that there are therapists in every part of the country providing treatment for those who need it.
  • Greens: Ensure that everyone who requires a mental health bed should be able to access one in their local NHS trust area, unless they need specialist care and treatment. If specialist care is required, then this should be provided within reasonable distance of where the patient lives.
  • UKIP: We will end the postcode lottery for psychiatric liaison services in acute hospitals and A&E departments.

Access – Time

  • Conservatives: We will enforce the new access and waiting time standards for people experiencing mental ill-health, including children and young people.
  • Greens: Ensure that everyone experiencing a mental health crisis, including children and young people, should have a safe and speedy access to quality care, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Lib Dems: Continue to introduce access and waiting time standards for mental health treatment.No one suffering from depression or anxiety will wait more than 6 weeks for therapy. We will ensure that all young people experiencing a first episode of psychosis receive treatment within two weeks.

Addiction Services

  • Greens: Improve access to addiction services including both drugs and alcohol addiction.
  • UKIP: Recognising there is often a link between addiction and mental illness and offering appropriate treatment where this is the case.

Crisis Care

  • Greens: The use of police cells as ‘places of safety’ for children should be eliminated by 2016, and by the end of the next Parliament should only occur for adults in exceptional circumstances.
  • Lib Dems: We want all hospital trusts to have an evidence based, high quality mental health crisis service for all ages in A&E departments.

Funding

  • Conservatives: We are increasing funding for mental health care.
  • Greens: Ensure that spending on mental health care rises within our overall commitment to increase real spending on health.
  • Labour: Not specifically for mental illness, but for NHS as a whole – Mansion Tax on properties worth more than £2 million, tackling tax avoidance and a levy on tobacco companies.
  • Lib Dems: Change the way that mental health is funded – removing block contracts and replacing them with performance based payment mechanisms. We will also put £250 million into care for pregnant women and news mums affected by depression. Backed up by £500 million per year for better mental health care, we will improve access to treatment and establish a world-leading mental health research fund to improve understanding of mental illness.
  • UKIP: We will increase mental health funding by £170million annually, phasing this in through the first two years of the next parliament.

Parity of Esteem

  • Conservatives: We have legislated to ensure that mental and physical health conditions are given equal priority.
  • Greens: …Green Party will put an end to mental health’s Cinderella status and achieve parity of esteem by 2020.
  • Labour: We will give mental health the same priority as physical health. People will have the same right to psychological therapies as they currently have to drugs and medical treatments.
  • Lib Dems: We are committed to ending discrimination against mental health in our NHS, delivering genuine parity of esteem between mental health and physical health.
  • UKIP: UKIP takes a ‘whole person’ approach to health and that means giving mental health parity with physical health.

Pregnancy and Post-natal support

  • Conservatives: Building on our success in training thousands of nurses and midwives to become health visitors, we will ensure that women have access to mental health support during and after pregnancy, while strengthening the health visiting programme for new mothers.
  • Greens: Pay special attention to any mental health issues of mothers during and after pregnancy…
  • Labour: Not explicitly mental illness related – We will guarantee every woman personalised, one-to-one care from a midwife during labour and childbirth by recruiting 3,000 more midwives.
  • Lib Dems: We will also put £250 million into care for pregnant women and news mums affected by depression.
  • UKIP: Offering direct access to specialist mental health treatment for pregnant women and mothers of children under 12 months of age.

Stigma

  • Greens: Implement a campaign to end the discrimination and stigma associated with mental health through supporting the Time for Change programme and offering employment support to those with mental health problems.
  • Lib Dems: Not obvious in manifesto – there is a campaign on their site to stamp out mental health stigma, which people can sign up to.
  • UKIP: Fighting the stigma around mental illness and supporting those seeking to get back into work.

Talking Therapies

  • Greens: Ensure that no one waits more than 28 days for access to talking therapies.
  • Labour: We will set out a strategy to ensure that the great majority of patients can access talking therapies within 28 days, and that all children can  access school-based counselling if they need it.
  • Lib Dems: We will prioritise talking therapies.

Whole Person Care

  • Greens: Give higher priority to physical healthcare of those with mental health. problems
  • Labour: We will integrate health & care services into a seamless system of whole-person care. This will bring together three fragmented services into a single service to meet all of a person’s care needs — physical, mental and social.
  • Lib Dems: We want to integrate mental health and physical health services.
  • UKIP: Patients experiencing distress or exhibiting mental ill-health issues when admitted to hospital should have both their physical health and mental wellbeing assessed.

Other

  • Conservatives: We have also pioneered the use of social impact bonds and payment-by-results, and we will look to scale these up in the future, focusing on youth unemployment, mental health and homelessness.
  • Greens: Pay special attention to…children and adolescents, black and minority ethnic. people, refugees, the LGBTIQ communities and ex-service people and their families.
  • Labour: We will radically improve mental health support, especially for young people, by prioritising new investment in under 18s and ensuring teachers have training so they can identify problems early and link children up with support.
  • Lib Dems: We would establish a Mental Health Research Fund with the aim of funding cutting edge research to further our understanding of both the causes of mental illness and the most effective treatments. We would bring together a group of independent experts and academics to help develop a mental health research strategy and the findings would be communicated to health commissioners.
  • UKIP: Directing patients diagnosed with a debilitating long-term condition or terminal illnesses to mental health professionals when appropriate.

So, what do you think? Comment and let me know!

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4 thoughts on “The Manifestos: Mental Health

  1. Thanks for this really helpful list! There’s a conspicuous gap around public health and prevention though. Is that because the parties haven’t mentioned it? I know the LibDems have committed to doing a mental health ‘5-a-day’ campaign (though I don’t know if they realise Mindapples has been doing that for seven years already!) but not sure if the other parties have said anything about it? Thanks.

    1. Hi Andy,

      I know that Greens have written how their welfare policies interact with mental health (Bottom of p.35: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/manifesto/Green_Party_2015_General_Election_Manifesto.pdf). I didn’t notice anything else about public health within the specific ‘mental health’ sections of the other manifestos – that doesn’t mean to say it’s not in their manifestos somewhere else though!

      Lib Dems was the hardest manifesto to pull the information out of, however they do definitely have a campaign going around reducing stigma. I think that they should definitely look at what you’re doing though because it’s brilliant!

      Naomi

      1. Thanks Naomi, that’s really helpful. Keep it up! We will endeavour to do our thing anyway, but meanwhile I’ll see if I can ask some of them a few difficult questions… 🙂

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