Association of Mental Health Providers

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Election Manifestos

This week, the main political parties – Conservatives, Labour, and Liberal Democrats published their manifestos, sharing their party’s vision for mental health. With more than just a mention, as was two years ago, and all parties dedicating at least a chapter to the topic, it is a welcome step in the right direction and shows how far mental health has come in the political agenda. Mental ill-health affects one in four people in the UK each year, yet there is a long way to go to ensure parity of esteem and protect mental health services.

So, what are the parties’ promises on mental health this election? We’ve compiled a list:


  • Address the need for better treatments across the whole spectrum of conditions, making the UK the leading research and technology economy for mental health
  • Reform out-dated laws to ensure that those with mental illness are treated fairly and employers fulfil their responsibilities effectively
  • Introduce the first new Mental Health Bill for thirty-five years, putting parity of esteem at the heart of treatment
  • Amend health and safety regulations so that employers provide appropriate first aid training and needs-assessment for mental health
  • Extend Equalities Act protections against discrimination to mental health conditions that are episodic and fluctuating
  • Consider the findings of the Stevenson-Farmer Review into workplace mental health support, working with employers to encourage new products and incentives to improve the mental health and wellbeing support available to their employees
  • Train one million members of the public in basic mental health awareness and first aid to break the stigma of mental illness


  • Ring-fence mental health budgets, and ensure funding reaches the frontline.
  • Bring forward the ending of out-of-area placements to 2019 to prevent children being treated on adult mental health wards and stop people being sent across the country to receive treatment
  • Invest in early intervention by increasing the proportion of mental health budgets spent on support for children and young people
  • Ensure that access to a counselling service is available for all children in secondary schools
  • Ask the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to evaluate the potential for increasing the range of evidence- based psychological therapies on offer

Liberal Democrats:

  • Ring-fence funding from within the one penny Income Tax rise, to provide additional investment in mental health
  • Continue to roll out access and waiting time standards for children, young people and adults, including a guarantee that people will not wait more than six weeks for therapy for depression or anxiety, and no young person will wait more than two weeks for treatment when they experience a first episode of psychosis
  • Increase access to clinically- and cost-effective talking therapies so that hundreds of thousands more people can receive this support
  • Examine the case for introducing a dedicated service for children and young people based on the Australian ‘headspace’ model and building on many excellent Youth Information, Advice and Counselling Services
  • Transform mental health support for pregnant women, new mothers and those who have experienced miscarriage or stillbirth, and help them get early care when needed
  • Continue to promote and invest in the Frontline programme to fast-track exceptional graduates into children’s social work, as well as the Think Ahead scheme aimed at encouraging high-achieving graduates to pursue a career in mental health social work
  • Ensure that no one in crisis is turned away, with new waiting time standards and better crisis care in Accident and Emergency, 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
  • End out-of-area placements, ensuring those admitted to hospital for mental ill-health are able to be treated close to home
  • Ensure that all frontline public service professionals, including in schools and universities, receive better training in mental health
  • Roll out the Liaison and Diversion programme nationally, helping to identify people who have mental health problems, learning disabilities, substance misuse or other vulnerabilities when they first come into contact with the criminal justice system
  • Tackle stigma against mental ill-health, including by building on the good work done by organisations like Heads Together and changing the standard of proof in suicide conclusions in the Coroner’s Court
  • Ensure that LGBT+ inclusive mental health services receive funding and support
  • Fight the threat Brexit poses to medical research funding

All three parties have made strong commitments to improving mental health care and addressing the challenge of mental ill-health, however, it is disappointing that the significant role of the voluntary and community sector as a mental health service planning and delivery partner has been omitted from all manifestos. The knowledge and real strength of the voluntary and community sector needs to be taken seriously as an equal partner to meet the Government’s priority for better mental health. Following the election, we hope that the new Government will recognise the invaluable contribution of the mental health voluntary and community sector, and the essential role it has in delivering care and support across health and social care.