Mental health charities react to concerning news that the Government is pulling the plug on a much-needed plan
This week we found out that a 10-year cross-Government plan for mental health and wellbeing has been scrapped and replaced with a decision to combine the mental health plan with plans for chronic health conditions.
The original plan, championed by mental health charities, would have seen contributions from every Government department to create good mental health, going beyond just the health system. During the consultation process thousands of people with lived experience of mental illness were asked to be “ambitious” in their responses and to “think beyond the status quo” but now it appears the government are ignoring their own words.
“We are deeply disappointed to learn that the government is shelving its 10-year cross-government Mental Health and Wellbeing Plan.” Says Mark Winstanley, Chief Executive of Rethink Mental Illness in a statement.
“This decision signifies a failure to prioritise the nation’s mental health and challenge the causes of mental illness at the very moment that demand for support is soaring.
“It’s critical that we improve support for people living with multiple health conditions – many people living with mental illness struggle with their physical health too. But mental health care is still playing catch-up from decades of under-funding, and after the impact of the pandemic finds itself trying to meet rising need and complexity. It is short-sighted and costly to continue to ask the NHS to shoulder full responsibility for mental health while we do little to reduce demand for its services.”
The Mental Health Foundation has also released a statement, noting their disappointment.
“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 be continuing to make the case that we need an effective new plan, which holds Government departments to account, including through shared targets, and which has funding attached.
“The plan should be for the long-term; it was originally planned to run for 10 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.”
We stand with these organisations and those who spent time helping the Government put together the original plan, and are disappointed with this result. If you’re feeling affected by this news, here are some resources you may find helpful:
If you’re looking for private mental health support, you can find it on Counselling Directory.