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Monday, June 27, 2022

‘We want to do the right thing’ says Minister of State for Care and Mental Health as call for evidence launched

The Government have launched a discussion paper and call for evidence to inform their cross-Government, 10-year mental health plan, which it says aims to level up mental health across the country and put mental and physical health on an equal footing.

The 12-week call for evidence will seek views on what can be improved within the current service and build an understanding of the causes of mental ill-health.

The general public, people of all ages with lived experience of mental health conditions and those who support people with mental ill-health are urged to respond to the call for evidence to help inform a new 10-year mental health plan and a refreshed national suicide prevention plan seeking views on what can be improved within the current service, particularly in light of the pandemic which has led to record levels of people seeking treatment.

With figures showing only 2% of respondents coming from Asian or British Asian communities, to add to these regional disparities with only 9% respondents from Yorkshire and Humber and 4% from the North East, Minister of State for Care and Mental Health Gillian Keegan spoke with Asian Standard to urge its readers to get involved and participate in the call for evidence.

She explained: “The British Asian community in Yorkshire and the North East are a very important group and we thank Asian Standard for helping us get the message out. This is a fantastic opportunity, the whole industry in this sector have been calling for this 10-year plan for a long time. So, if you could take a little bit of time, to share your inputs, we promise we will be listening and we are very keen to hear from you.

“There is still plenty of time as the call for evidence closes on 7 July, so we just want to make sure we get as many opinions as we can, as much of their life experience their lived experience. What they’ve seen somebody else go through. It can be anonymous, what they feel uncomfortable or comfortable talking about.

“We want to attract all aspects of the community.”

Ms Keegan further added her assurances that the information gathered will be taken seriously, with an extra £2.3bn being invested into mental health services, each year by 2023, with investments going into schools as well as continuing general services within the NHS ‘mental health is something the government is very serious about’

“We know it’s the right thing to do, we want to do the right thing – help us do the right thing by inputting your views” Appealed Ms Keegan

Responding to the launch for the call for evidence, Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “Mind has long been calling for a more joined-up approach from Government to mental health, which has a social and economic cost to the country of £120 billion a year and causes untold damage to every community. A truly cross-Government plan will play a key role in making sure support for our mental health get rebuilt post-pandemic to the same level as for our physical health.

“All the evidence indicates that our mental wellbeing and ability to cope is affected for better or worse by our income, employment, our housing, communities and a host of other influences that can lead to disparities and inequalities, many of which Government can affect. Anyone who has experienced a mental health problem knows that it touches every part of our lives. But too often Government decisions are driven by one-track thinking that doesn’t consider the wider impact of the actions of one Department, let alone the effects on the nation’s mental health. The result has been too much reliance by decision makers on mental health services, which are struggling more than ever to meet the demand due to decades of underinvestment.

“We have a once in a generation chance to change the way Government makes decisions to act in the interest of the nation’s mental health. This must mean ambitious plans for expanding and investing in mental health services and bold new mental health legislation, and also a willingness from the Government to follow the evidence of what works in areas like benefits, education, and housing to build a better future for us all. Only by doing this will be able to reduce the glaring racial and social inequalities that persist in mental health and unlock the potential of millions of lives. We are starting to see the efforts of the Government that are focused on rebuilding physical health services – we need to see the same focus for mental health and wellbeing, which has so far been lacking.”

Readers are urged to join the call for evidence by visiting: Mental health and wellbeing plan: discussion paper and call for evidence – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)





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