Association of Mental Health Providers

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The Association’s Response to the Conservatives’ 2024 General Election Manifesto

Today, the Conservative Party published “The Conservative and Unionist Party Manifesto 2024” – their plan of actions to “secure the future of our nation and society”.

We welcome their commitment to ensure that mental health has parity of esteem with physical health which includes expanding mental health support teams and early support hubs to every school and community by 2030, boosting the support and treatment for people living with severe mental illness, and support for women’s health, particularly related to domestic violence and after childbirth.

The commitment to support a sustainable and high-quality social care system is positive, which we hope will deliver on their previous promise to “fix social care,” as well as retaining the workforce, and supporting unpaid carers, who we know are too often overlooked. We would also welcome the reforms in the ‘People at the Heart of Care’ White Paper to be taken forward and have been calling for such measures including acknowledging that more money is needed in the sector, with higher workforce retention.

However, the plans to reform our disability benefits including improving PIP assessments to stop rising as “it is not clear that they (people suffering with mental health conditions) always face the same additional living costs as people with physical disabilities” does undermine their pledge to ensure mental health has parity of esteem with physical health. We are also disappointed that there was no explicit mention of reforming the outdated Mental Health Act which continues to disproportionately affect marginalised groups and Black and Ethnic Minority Communities.

There is a further need to recognise the role of the VCSE sector in integrated care, strengthen collaboration, and address the inequalities in the mental health system – not just for women – but for people from racialised and other marginalised communities. To secure Better Mental Health for Everyone, the VCSE mental health sector must also be supported, which as we know from our data mapping continues to support our NHS to deliver mental health services in every local area of this country.