‘Politicians don’t fully grasp scale of mental health crisis’ – Mind

First release of election polling by mental health charity Mind shows public understand the emergency in mental health in a way that politicians don’t. 

Data from a new poll conducted by More in Common for the mental health charity Mind reveals a concerning divide between public acknowledgement of a crisis in mental health in this country and a failure by politicians to acknowledge the same issue. 

a bridge with Westminster Clock Tower

Photo by Dan Lynn

That, says the charity, is of particular concern given the looming general election. Indeed, the topic of mental health did not feature at all in Tuesday’s night’s TV debate between prime minister Rishi Sunak and leader of the Labour party Keir Starmer. 

In the poll, members of the public ranked mental health services among the top five priorities for increased spending, alongside healthcare, hospital services, GP services, police and emergency services. That put it above such matters as education, housing, defence, the environment and energy security. 

Indeed, the poll shows widespread public concern over the state of NHS mental health services. Some two-thirds of respondents (67%) were ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ concerned about NHS mental health services. The figure was 76% for typical Red Wall voters from More in Common’s ‘loyal national’ segment.  

Significant numbers also cited concerns about access to such mental health services. Just less than half of respondents (49%) thought mental health support through the NHS are difficult to access. Most were not confident that they could access support through the NHS should they need it.  e  

In March this year, Mind was among more than 60 charities who called on political parties to make a major commitment to mental health ahead of the forthcoming general election. 

Dr Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive of Mind, says: ‘The mental health system is at breaking point. The public understands this, but its absence from last night’s debate shows our political leaders don’t yet fully grasp the scale of the problem.  

‘Some of the rhetoric around mental health problems over the past few weeks has left many of us with mental health problems feeling deeply worried and anxious. This has come through clearly in the comments and messages Mind has received on social media and in the calls to our helplines. It’s absence from last night’s debate is equally troubling.  

‘But there is hope. There are policies that politicians from all parties can commit to in the weeks and months ahead that will move the dial on mental health, including: reforming the outdated Mental Health Act and raising the standard of mental health hospitals and investing in services like early support hubs for children and young people; fixing benefits assessments and improving mental health at work.’ 

In related news:

How are the Lib Dems pledging to help social care?

Half a million parents are facing delayed child benefit support

Mental health patients need better support in communities, here’s how we can help

Simon Guerrier
Writer and journalist for Social Care Today, Infotec and Air Quality News


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