The Government yesterday unveiled its plans for the new Parliamentary year.
The Queen’s Speech contained this reference to mental health:
“My Government will reform mental health legislation and ensure that mental health is prioritised in the National Health Service in England.”
The manifesto emphasised that the Conservatives would help bring about “a Britain in which burning injustices are tackled and overcome, with the first new Mental Health Bill for thirty years to put parity of esteem at the heart of treatment and end the stigma of mental illness once and for all”.
The manifesto also noted that “If you suffer from mental health problems, there is not enough help at hand” and said “We will address the need for better treatments across the whole spectrum of mental health conditions”.
Although the BPC was disappointed that no explicit mention was made of psychological therapies in the Conservative manifesto, we were nonetheless pleased to read of plans such as the Treatment Bill and making the UK the leading research and technology economy in the world for mental health.
The BPC has campaigned for years for meaningful parity of esteem – ensuring equal provision of treatment between mental health and physical health – and continues to lobby for everyone to be able to access an appropriate treatment on the NHS. We know that 1 in 6 adults experience a mental health problem in any given week and that 10% of 6 – 16 years olds have a mental health problem. This amounts to 8 million adults and 800,00 children and young people. Yet only 25% of people will be able to access a treatment by 2020.
As our recent letter to the Guardian made clear, we believe that the time for parity of esteem to become a reality is long overdue.
With no mention of the Treatment Bill in the Queen’s Speech, we are concerned that this means this Parliament will see no legislation making it easier for all to access the treatment they need.
We will be contacting the Government on the matter.