SOLUTION REPORT: A 21st century approach to mental health

At Parliament Street, we believe mental health is one of the biggest issues of our generation; affecting many people across the United Kingdom. We have been looking at innovative ways to forge what we call ‘a 21st century approach to mental health’ trying to outline key issues and find solutions to the problems.

Over the past 12 months Parliament Street has rolled out different initiatives to identify what the key issues are for professionals who come into contact with mental health every day and individuals who suffer from mental illness.

We held two mental health debates in the Houses of Parliament in March to openly discuss the barriers many professionals and people experiencing mental ill health feel are stopping progress from happening.

A 21st century approach must look to modernising an approach to mental health by revolutionising the way we treat mental illness. We must look to a range of initiatives that could reduce the pressure on our NHS.  We must call on the government to appoint a minister for mental health who can lead the way for a 21st century approach. They can call for existing provision to be creative as well as promoting and encouraging new ideas and new models of care. New ideas currently emerging include: innovative on line therapies, support groups, websites and blogs.  There are some excellent charitable organisations that involve people in the life of their communities and offer support, care and inclusion, helping to combat discrimination and stigma.

This report outlines the growing burden on public services and makes recommendations for future progress. The Police service and A&E Departments appear to be under significant pressure. Through our research we have discovered that the police are dealing with an astronomical amount of incidents involving mental illness and A&E Departments in England did receive more than a 100,000 admissions between January 2016 and January 2017, because of a mental health crisis or self-harm.

There is a need to modernise our approach to mental health in schools with more students suffering from an array of mental health disorders and who are not able to get the level of support needed from their educational establishment. Teachers often feel ill-equipped to deal with mental health concerns in their students.

This report encapsulates the opinions of professionals from a range of backgrounds, including those individuals with lived experience of mental illness. It makes recommendations for moving forward and encourages the idea of an, invest to save approach, that will produce long lasting benefits for generations to come.

With this report, we have made key recommendations which include all areas where mental health is either an issue or a concern. Our flagship recommendation on how to support and educate all students on mental health is by introducing compulsory mental health awareness as part of the curriculum from year 6. This would allow pupils not just to learn about their own mental health but how to support others with theirs. It is of logistical importance that teachers, parents, charities and local NHS trusts are communicating with each other. That is why we have brought forward the idea of ‘Mental Health Education Partnerships’ allowing all parties to share their thoughts from different expertise on how to improve mental health education and support in the education system.

In our National Health Service we have recommended that the future government uses an ‘Invest to Save Model.’ We, at Parliament Street, believe that if the government puts ring-fenced investment into prevention and early intervention they will save large sums of money. If an individual gets help fast they’re less likely not only to need future support but also are more likely to be successful in their lives. This could potentially see a reduction in the amount of people suffering from mental health problems ending up on welfare, in prison or coming into contact with other public services such as the police. We believe this approach will save money and save lives.

Finally, our flagship proposal is for the new government to implement a Minister for Mental Health at the heart of their cabinet. We believe this would not only show that the government means business on mental health but will help push key legislation through that could help many people suffering from mental illness in our country.

We need ‘a 21st century approach to mental health’ and this solution report outlines key steps we need to take to end this social injustice, improve life chances and save money.

You can read the report by clicking the link below:

A 21st Century Approach to Mental Health Solution Report

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