Better access to mental health support during and after pregnancy
- Ensure that women have access to mental health support during and after pregnancy.
- Ensure that psychological therapists are available in every part of the country.
- Increase funding for mental health care.
Liberal Democrat pledges:
An extra £500 million for mental health care
- Provide an extra £500 million a year for mental health services to improve access and reduce waiting times.
- Increase access to talking therapies to hundreds of thousands more people, with a long-term goal of everyone who can benefit being treated.
- Specific proposals to improve mental health services for children, pregnant women and new mothers.
Ensure that everyone who needs a mental health bed can access one in the local NHS
- Ensure that everyone who needs a mental health bed can access one in the local NHS, or within a reasonable distance of their home if specialist care is required.
- Eliminate the use of police cells as ‘places of safety’ for children by 2016, and for adults, except in exceptional circumstances, by the end of the next parliament.
- Ensure that spending on mental health increases.
Increase mental health funding by £170 million a year
- Increase mental health funding by £170 million a year.
- End the postcode lottery for psychiatric liaison services in acute hospitals and A&E departments.
- Offer access to specialist mental health treatment to pregnant women and new mothers.
Putting mental health on an equal footing with physical health
Mental health services are under increasing pressure. Access to psychological therapies remains limited, providing little choice of treatment and leaving many waiting with inadequate support. Meanwhile, community-based services are struggling to provide the care needed to keep patients out of hospital. When patients do need to be admitted, some are having to go to hospitals a long way from their local area. There is clearly some way to go before the same standards of care expected by people with physical health issues are experienced by those with mental health issues.
Although adult mental health services have been transformed in recent decades, there is a need for more investment in community-based support. Despite the fact that nearly a third of people with long-term physical conditions also have a mental health issue, their needs are often treated in isolation. Patient care could be improved and costs reduced by improving co-ordination between mental health, physical health and social care services. The next government will inherit the welcome commitment to putting mental health on an equal footing with physical health – it will need to work hard to make that a reality.
Read The King’s Fund verdict, Has the government put mental health on an equal footing with physical health?