Mental health in the UK is getting worse. Sickness absence due to mental illness is soaring, rates of mental health difficulties are increasing at an alarming rate, and already overstretched services are struggling to meet rising demands. Along with over 30 organisations with an interest in mental health, the Centre for Mental Health has developed a plan to address this and build a mentally healthier nation.
The plan focuses on three key areas: prevention, equality and support. It sets out concrete policies they want to see adopted as part of a ten-year, cross-government mental health strategy.
Prevention: By effectively addressing social determinants, like poverty and discrimination, and environmental factors, including housing and pollution, more of us can have better mental health. Investing in more powerful public health infrastructure is also key to preventing illness and promoting better health.
Equality: Discrimination and disadvantage mean that risks to mental health are much higher in some groups, such as racialised communities. And people with mental health difficulties are often treated less well in society, including in the social security and justice systems. Building a mentally healthier nation requires concerted action to tackle these inequalities and close the health gaps between different groups.
Support: Everyone should be able to get timely access to local mental health services when they first need them. By properly resourcing these services, minimising the use of coercion and widening access, especially for children and young people, we can majorly improve people’s mental health outcomes.