Royal College of Psychiatrists published its Fair Deal manifesto in 2008 highlighting issues that people with mental health problems and learning disabilities encounter on a daily basis.
It showed that:
- One-in-four older people have symptoms of depression severe enough to warrant help, but only half are diagnosed and treated.
- A third of substance misuse patients with mental health needs receive no interventions.
- In-patients may remain in hospital for months after their need for hospitalisation has ended, awaiting transfer to local authority accommodation.
- Mental health research receives 6.5% of total research funding, compared with 25% for research into cancer and 15% for neurological diseases.
The College raised awareness of its campaign in the UK Parliaments and among the general public, and as the campaign draws to a close, its themes are perennial and ingrained within the College’s values and practice.
Welfare Reform Bill
Introduced into Parliament in early 2009, the Welfare Reform Bill involves further reform of the welfare benefit system, with the aim of moving more people off benefits and into work. The College provided expert advice to the Department for Work and Pensions, and submitted written evidence in response to consultations.
‘No health without public mental health’
In 2010 the College published ‘No health without public mental health’ and called on the government to put mental health at the heart of their new public health strategy.
In the position statement, the College called on the government to:
- Tackle substance addiction through a minimum alcohol pricing policy and an evidence-based addictions policy.
- Prioritise mental health within smoking cessation programmes.
- Target public mental health interventions for people at higher risk (e.g. children in care, the unemployed or homeless).
- Promote the importance of mental health in older age.
The College continues to provide joint secretariat support to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health, a cross party group of Parliamentarians.