Today’s news that there will be no new dedicated cross-government plan for mental health is a huge step backwards.
The Mental Health Foundation and others have championed the need for a cross-government plan that avoids quick fixes and sets out the contribution of every Government department to create good mental health, going beyond just the health system.
Instead, the government has decided to combine the mental health plan with plans for chronic health conditions, such as cancer and respiratory diseases.
Coming out of a pandemic and in the midst of the cost-of-living crisis, this is not the time for the government to be diluting its focus on mental health.
We will continue to make the case that we need an effective new plan that holds government departments to account, including through shared targets, and has funding attached.
The plan should be for the long-term; it was initially planned to run for ten years. Its focus on chronic conditions must not mean that it excludes children and young people, who are less likely to experience chronic ill-health but who are a prime target for preventative mental health interventions. And it must reflect the views of the thousands of people with mental health problems who generously spent their time and energy feeding into the government’s consultation processes.
Read the Mental Health Foundation’s new report on mental health and the cost-of-living crisis.