Election manifestos: Which party prioritises mental health?

When it comes to politics, many individuals typically align with a specific party. However, this election appears to have a significant number of undecided voters who wish there was a box with 'I just don't know!'

Image

The recent years under the Conservative Government have left us with widespread trust issues, leading many to view manifestos as mere collections of ideologies, rather than realistic, actionable plans. Consequently, we are keen to support a leader who demonstrates the ability to deliver on their promises.

I often hear people say, "I am not into politics!" However, everything we do each day is influenced by political decisions, from the roads we drive on to the quality of our healthcare and education.

Politics is one of the few systems that everyone has a say in through voting. It’s not just for the rich or privileged; it’s a platform for everyone to express their views on how we are governed and to shape the future of our society. Engaging in politics empowers us to advocate for our needs and hold leaders accountable.

Your voice is important. 

When you think about it, we all fundamentally desire the same things. We want an exceptional NHS to ensure that we and our loved ones receive the necessary care and treatment. We want our elderly to be looked after with dignity and compassion. We want a robust education system for our children, a police presence to ensure our safety and well-maintained roads. We seek a thriving economy, quality local services and the assurance that everyone can heat their homes and have food on the table. 

These are universal needs that I believe everyone shares. Additionally, we want to preserve the planet for our grandchildren, have great access to mental health treatment and a Government that is accountable and honest. Where is the tick box for that?

As a therapist, I am going to concentrate on mental health and which manifesto measures up.

According to Martin Bell, Head of Policy and Public Affairs for the BACP:

“There has never been a General Election where the nation’s mental health has been in such a precarious state. Vulnerable people are struggling to access the support they need, lengthy waiting lists are a barrier for many, counselling organisations are facing increased demand but reduced budgets, and the cost-of-living crisis is exacerbating mental health issues. Children and young people’s mental health is at a crisis point, and marginalised communities are disproportionately affected by various societal issues, leaving them at breaking point.

“Ensuring better access to and increased investment in mental health support – including counselling and psychotherapy – must be a priority for all election candidates and reflected in party manifestos. This must lead to real change. The next Government must take decisive action.”


What does each party's manifesto say in respect of mental health?

If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health and not receiving the much-needed support, then these policies matter. Let's explore each party's strengths compared to each other.

Conservative Party

Strengths:

  • Comprehensive expansion of mental health support in schools and communities.
  • Significant investment in NHS Talking Therapies.
  • Focus on maternal mental health and severe mental health needs.

Considerations:

  • Detailed plan with legislative commitments.
  • Emphasis on integration with disability benefits and employment.

Green Party

Strengths:

  • Emphasis on equal access to mental health services within 28 days.
  • Tailored support for diverse communities, including children and LGBTIQA+ individuals.
  • Provision of trained counsellors in every school.

Considerations:

  • Focus on equity and inclusivity.
  • Rapid response times for mental health support.

Labour Party

Strengths:

  • Increased access to mental health professionals in schools and communities.
  • Introduction of Young Futures Hubs for early intervention.
  • Significant recruitment of additional mental health staff.

Considerations:

  • Comprehensive approach to integrating mental health with other community services.
  • Focus on modernisation of the Mental Health Act.

Liberal Democrats

Strengths:

  • Regular mental health check-ups and community mental health hubs.
  • Free prescriptions for chronic mental health conditions.
  • Dedicated mental health professional in every school.

Considerations:

  • Focus on preventive measures and early intervention.
  • Strong support for perinatal mental health and addressing mental health stigma.

Which party has your vote?

All parties emphasise the importance of improving mental health support, particularly in schools and for young people and aim to put mental health on equal footing with physical health. Common commitments include expanding access to mental health professionals in educational settings and creating community-based support hubs. 

Differences arise in specific target populations, the extent of legal reforms, tailored support for particular groups and detailed strategies for addressing specific mental health issues.

  • Conservative Party: Best for a comprehensive and legislative approach to expanding mental health services.
  • Green Party: Best for rapid access and tailored support for diverse and underrepresented communities.
  • Labour Party: Best for integrating mental health services into the community and schools, with a strong focus on early intervention.
  • Liberal Democrats: Best for preventive care and ensuring continuous support through regular check-ups and community hubs.

If you are a therapist, your preference might lean towards a party that aligns closely with your values and the needs of your clients. For instance, if rapid access and inclusivity are paramount, the Green Party might stand out. If integration with community services and modernisation of laws are crucial, Labour’s manifesto could be the most compelling.

Ultimately, each manifesto offers a vision for improved mental health support and the best choice might depend on which aspects you and your clients find most critical.

As a therapist analysing the manifestos from a professional standpoint (and to be clear, I have no allegiance to any particular party), The Labour Party's manifesto appears to offer the most comprehensive and robust support (purely based on mental health) but again, this has to be actually delivered!

I don't have any loyalty to a particular party; my main concern is the well-being of our society. I envision a future where people are happy, healthy and thriving. It's crucial to evaluate each party's commitments and choose the one that best aligns with our collective needs and values.

As a therapist, I see the impact of mental health policies on individuals' lives every day. Therefore, my focus remains on advocating for the best possible support systems to ensure that everyone has access to the care they need. Let’s make informed decisions to build a compassionate and supportive society for all.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

Share this article with a friend
Image
Guildford GU5 & GU2
Image
Written by Donna Morgan, SNR MNCS Accred ANXIETY, WOMENS HEALTH, CYPT TEENS, CBT EMDR
Guildford GU5 & GU2

Donna Morgan is a highly experienced Humanistic Mental Health Therapist with 26 years of practice. Her passion for helping individuals with their mental health has driven her to develop a compassionate and holistic approach to therapy. Donna firmly believes in treating each client as a unique individual and providing them with personalised support.

Show comments
Image

Find the right counsellor or therapist for you

All therapists are verified professionals

All therapists are verified professionals