Today is #WorldMentalHealthDay, which aims to raise awareness around the issue of mental health. We had a look at what the seven major political parties said about Mental Health in their 2015 election manifestos.

(Note: In order to find these points we have searched the key words ‘Mental Health’ in the manifestos and copied all points including the phrase, that do not repeat an already copied statement. Some do mention the issue more than others, we advise you read the manifestos further if you would like more information and context.)

Parties are listed in order of number of MPs in the House of Commons.

  • “We will also provide significant new support for mental health, benefiting thousands of people claiming out-of-work benefits or being supported by Fit for Work” (Page 28)
  • “We have legislated to ensure that mental and physical health conditions are given equal priority. We will now go further, ensuring that there are therapists in every part of the country providing treatment for those who need it. We are increasing funding for mental health care. We will enforce the new access and waiting time standards for people experiencing mental ill-health, including children and young people. 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.” (Page 39)
  • “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.” (Page 46)
  • “We will ensure proper provision of health and community based places of safety for people suffering mental health crises – saving police time and stopping vulnerable people being detained in police custody.” (Page 59)
  • “We have delivered proper mental health support and priority access to medical treatments for veterans” (Page 78)

(Source: Conservative Party Manifesto 2015) 

  • “Our health reforms will focus on prevention and early intervention, and joining up services from home to hospital. When people cannot get to see their GP, many go to A&E instead. When mental health problems are not spotted early, people can deteriorate and need more intensive support.” (Page 34)
  • “Mental health will be given the same priority as physical health. People will have the same right to psychological therapies as they currently have to drugs and medical treatments. To help address the problem of undiagnosed mental illness, NHS staff training will include mental health. We will increase the proportion of the mental health budget that is spent on children, and make sure that teachers have training so they can identify problems early and link children up with support. (Page 35)
  • To support young people’s health and wellbeing, we will encourage the development of social and emotional skills, for example through the use of mindfulness to build resilience. And we will set out a strategy with the goal of ensuring that the great majority of patients can access talking therapies within 28 days, and that all children who need it can access schoolbased counselling.” (Page 35)

(Source: The Labour Party Manifesto 2015)

  • “We will demand an urgent review of the conditionality and sanctions regime, in order to deliver an overhaul of the current, deeply ineffective arrangements, which impact on some of the most vulnerable in our society. The review will take particular account of the needs of people with mental health issues” (Page 16)
  • “We’ve already committed £15 million to a mental health innovation fund and, as part of our proposals for higher health spending, will seek to increase this investment to £100 million over the next 5 years. Resources will be directed towards projects that will improve mental health treatments in the primary care sector. The fund will also enable further investment in child and adolescent mental health services. Scotland was the first country in the UK to introduce waiting time targets for these services, and we have increased the workforce by 45 per cent.” (Page 30)

(Source: SNP Manifesto 2015)

  • “Our NHS will have the money it needs, and the Scottish Parliament will have the resources to make sure mental health will have equal status with physical health. Those facing anxiety and depression will be seen swiftly, people struggling not to harm themselves will find emergency help at A&E and teenagers suffering from eating disorders will get the help they need close to home.” (Page 13)
  • “These placements [Apprenticeship] should be tailored for those with disabilities or mental health problems and those with parental responsibilities and we will work to expand the availability of placements into new sectors including manufacturing, science and technology.” (Page 44)
  • “Tackle delay and instability in foster care, with better support and training for foster carers, including on mental health issues.” (Page 61)
  • “We made a start towards this £1 billion increase in the Budget by securing a £250m a year investment in mental health.” (Page 68)
  • “One in four of us will experience mental health problems, but for decades mental health has been the last in the queue for funding and attention. Mental health problems cost the country as much as £100 billion each year yet less than a quarter of people with depression get the treatment they need” (Page 68)
  • “We have invested £400m in increasing access to talking therapies and £150m in help for people with eating disorders, but there is still a long way to go. That is why we will increase mental health spending in England’s NHS by £500m a year by 2016/17 – half of which we delivered in this year’s Budget – and provide the cash for similar investments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.” (Page 68)
  • “Continue to roll out access and waiting time standards for children, young people and adults. This will include a waiting time standard from referral of no more than six weeks for therapy for depression or anxiety and a two-week wait standard for all young people experiencing a first episode of psychosis.” (Page 69)
  • “Increase access to clinically and cost-effective talking therapies so hundreds of thousands more people can get this support. Our long-term goal is to see everyone who can benefit being treated, but we will set an interim target of getting 25% of those suffering into treatment.” (Page 69)
  • “Revolutionise children’s mental health services. With the £250m a year announced in this year’s Budget we will implement the proposals outlined in the report of the Government’s Children’s Mental Health Taskforce. This means building better links with schools, ensuring all children develop mental resilience, and getting support and care quickly to those who are struggling. Our investment will help ensure children can access high-quality care closer to home.” (Page 69)
  • “Ensure no one in crisis is turned away, with new waiting time standards and better crisis care in Accident and Emergency (A&E), in the community and via phone lines. This will enable us to end the use of police cells for people facing a mental health crisis.” (Page 71)
  • “Radically transform mental health services, extending the use of personal budgets, integrating care more fully with the rest of the NHS, introducing rigorous inspection and high-quality standards, comprehensive collection of data to monitor outcomes and waiting times and changing the way services are funded so they do not lose out in funding decisions in future.” (Page 71)
  • “Introduce care navigators so people get help finding their way around the system, and set stretching standards to improve the physical health of people with mental health problems.” (Page 71)
  • “Develop a clear approach on preventing mental illness, with a public health campaign promoting the steps people can take to improve their own mental resilience – the wellbeing equivalent of the ‘Five a Day’ campaign.” (Page 71)
  • “Support good practice among employers in promoting wellbeing and ensure people with mental health problems get the help they need to stay in or find work.” (Page 71)
  • “Establish a world-leading mental health research fund, investing £50m to further our understanding of mental illness and develop more effective treatments.”(Page 71)
  • “Continue to support the Time to Change programme to tackle stigma against mental health.”
  • “Ensure all frontline public service professionals, including in schools and universities, get better training in mental health – helping them to develop their own mental resilience as well as learning to identify people with mental health problems.”(Page 71)
  • “Support community services and volunteers working to combat loneliness, particularly in later life.” (Page 71)
  • “Improve support for groups that often face lower standards of care, such as older people and people with mental health problems or learning disabilities.” (Page 75)
  • “Extend the role of the Youth Justice Board to all offenders aged under 21, give them the power to commission mental health services and devolve youth custody budgets to Local Authorities.” (Page 123)
  • “Improve prison governance and accountability with a new value added measure to assess progress in reducing reoffending, providing education and tackling addiction and mental health issues, enabling good prisons to earn greater autonomy.” (Page 123)
  • “Provide experts in courts and police stations to identify where mental health or a drug problem is behind an offender’s behaviour so they can be dealt with in a way that is appropriate.” (Page 123)
  • “Improving support for personnel and veterans with mental health problems, including alcohol dependency.” (Page 147)

(Source: Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2015)

  • “So that people with mental health conditions get more help with diagnosis, treatment and advice, we shall work to raise awareness of mental health issues in the workplace and across society. Plaid Cymru will increase access to talking therapies, as well as funding support for eating disorders, and drug and alcohol treatment. We will also increase resources for mental health services for young people in Wales.” (Page 19)
  • “Devolved criminal justice would allow us to provide more appropriate sentencing, including diverting young people and those with mental health problems towards alternatives to custody. We will devolve all powers over Criminal Justice to the Welsh Government.” (Page 30)
  • “Our justice policy will focus on prevention, using restorative justice and rehabilitation through probation rather than only offer ineffective short-term sentences that have been proven not to prevent reoffending. We will also tackle mental health issues amongst prisoners in order to prevent future criminal behaviour.” (Page 31)
  • “We will provide additional support to mental health services for children and young people with mental health problems including access to appropriate care settings.” (Page 57)
  • “We will encourage employers to provide adequate support for staff experiencing mental health difficulties. In order to help prisoners with mental health and drug or alcohol problems we will improve cooperation between the prison service and health and substance misuse services.” (Page 57)

(Source: Plaid Cymru Manifesto 2015)

  • “Work towards ending stigma against people with mental health problems, including discrimination in employment.” (Page 26)
  • “Immediately increase the overall NHS budget by £12 billion a year to overcome the current funding crisis, increase investment in mental health care and provide for free dentistry, chiropody and prescriptions in England.” (Page 32)
  • “Expand the workforce to drive the wholesale improvement of mental health services.” (Page 35)
  • “Ensure that spending on mental health care rises within our overall commitment to increase real spending on health.” (Page 35)
  • “Ensure that no one waits more than 28 days for access to talking therapies.”(Page 35)
  • “Ensure that everyone experiencing a mental health crisis, including children and young people, should have safe and speedy access to quality care, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” (Page 35)
  • “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.” (Page 35)
  • “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 a reasonable distance of where the patient lives.” (Page 35)
  • “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.” (Page 35)
  • “Invest in dementia services, ensuring that support is available for all affected by this debilitating disease, including families and carers.” (Page 35)
  • Pay special attention to any mental health issues of mothers during and after pregnancy, children and adolescents, Black and Minority Ethnic people, refugees, the LGBTIQ communities and ex-service people and their families.”
  • “Improve access to addiction services, including both drugs and alcohol addiction.” (Page 35)
  • “Give higher priority to the physical healthcare of those with mental health problems.” (Page 35)
  • “Consider offering more personalised job-seeking support for people with mental health problems.” (Page 55)

(Source: Green Party Manifesto 2015)

  • “Invest £1.5 billion into mental health and dementia services.” (Page 5)
  • “Patients with mental health problems frequently feel ignored and let down. UKIP takes a ‘whole person’ approach to health and that means giving mental health parity with physical health.” (Page 16)
  • “Directing patients diagnosed with a debilitating long-term condition or terminal illnesses to mental health professionals when appropriate” (Page 16)
  • “Recognising there is often a link between addiction and mental illness and offering appropriate treatment where this is the case.” (Page 16)
  • “Offering direct access to specialist mental health treatment for pregnant women and mothers of children under 12 months of age” (Page 16)
  • “Fighting the stigma around mental illness and supporting those seeking to get back into work.” (Page 16)
  • “Patients experiencing distress or exhibiting mental ill-health issues when admitted to hospital should have both their physical health and mental wellbeing assessed. This must not just be an optional extra: we will end the postcode lottery for psychiatric liaison services in acute hospitals and A&E departments. To fund these initiatives, we will increase mental health funding by £170 million annually, phasing this in through the first two years of the next parliament.” (Page 16)
  • “If those who attend foodbanks are in such dire straits that they need food handouts, there is a high likelihood that they will also need additional support to deal with issues such as debt, family breakdown, addiction and poor physical or mental health. Many will need employment or legal advice. We will therefore contribute to the important work done by foodbanks and develop them into community advice centres for those most in need.” (Page 23)
  • “Issues such as veteran homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse and mental health problems will also come under [the remit of the proposed Minister for Veterans]” (Page 66)
  • “The issue of a veteran service card to ensure fast-track access to NHS mental health care” (Page 66)

(Source: UKIP Manifesto 2015)

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Rachael Farrington

Hello! I founded Voting Counts back in 2014, when I was a sixth form student. I'm now studying Politics and History at University and run Voting Counts in my spare time.

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