Government issues public call for evidence on mental health

The government has urged the public to respond to a 12-week call for evidence to inform a new ten-year mental health plan and a refreshed National Suicide Prevention Plan.

The call for evidence is seeking views on what can be improved within the current service, particularly in light of the pandemic which has led to record levels of people seeking treatment. 

Around one in five adults in Britain experienced some form of depression in the first three months of 2021, more than double pre-pandemic figures.  

The government says it has invested £500m to support the groups most impacted, including children and young people and those with severe mental illness, through the Mental Health Recovery Action Plan.

However, waiting times for NHS mental health services remain extremely long, with regular reports of people with severe needs being turned away, including self-harming children and teenagers. Bed capacity is tight and staff turnover is high.

tilt-shift photography of person in brown jacket

The government says its call for evidence will add to its understanding of the causes of mental ill-health, listening to people who have interacted with services and those who know and support them, to draw on ‘what works’. This will support the development of a plan which aims to prevent and mitigate the impacts of risk factors on mental health and suicide, particularly for groups who experience disparities.  

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘Too many people, particularly our children and young people, do not have the tools and support they need to look after their wellbeing or prevent mental health problems from escalating. 

‘We all have a role to play in resetting the way we approach mental health and our new 10-year plan will set an ambitious agenda for where we want the mental health of the nation to be a decade from now.’

The call for evidence is now open and will close on 5 July. It seeks to build consensus on the priority actions needed to reduce the number of people who go on to develop mental health conditions, especially for children and young people and communities at greatest risk.

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of mental health charity Mind, said: ‘Mind has long been calling for a more joined-up approach from Government to mental health, one which follows the evidence of what works in areas like benefits, education, and housing to build a better future for us all, and reduces the glaring racial and social inequalities that persist in mental health.

‘A truly cross-Government plan will play a key role in making sure support for our mental health starts to be rebuilt post-pandemic to the same level as for our physical health.’

Photo by Ümit Bulut


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