Britain’s Challenging Mental Health Crisis

The 2012 Health and Social Care Act gave mental health the same  priority as physical health, but only in principle. UKIP will put mental wellbeing on the same footing as physical healthcare, in terms of  both access to treatment and funding. 
Unresolved mental health and addiction issues lie at the heart of some of our greatest social challenges: crime, homelessness, family breakdown, unemployment, and more. 
Every year, some 150 million GP consultations and up to forty per cent of A&E attendances are linked to mental health issues and drug or alcohol abuse, yet there are insufficient resources for doctors to refer patients to specialist care.
UKIP will increase planned spending on mental health services by at least £500 million every year. This sum could fund 6,000 clinical psychologists to see 500,000 more adults and young people every year. 
UKIP’s mental health priorities will be: 
• Cutting waiting times: The current target of eighteen weeks between referral and first appointment is far too long. 28 days should be  the maximum.   
• Closing the gaps between child and adult, and physical and mental care services: There should be a smooth transition between these sectors with professionals sharing best practice and having a central point of communication
• Getting funding to the right place: National funding earmarked for mental health services is often being diverted to other NHS services. This must stop.  
YOUNG PEOPLE CRYING OUT FOR HELP The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy says 80,000 children and young people in the UK are clinically depressed. Around three children in every class have a diagnosable mental health condition, and one in twelve will self-harm. Figures from the Office for National Statistics are tragic: more than four suicides  of young people take place every week. 
Mental health problems start before age fourteen in half of all cases, so UKIP will integrate mental health training into the teacher-training syllabus and develop a national school-based counselling strategy for England, on a par with Wales and Northern Ireland. Specialist counselling services will be available in all secondary schools.  
Looking out for those at risk must become everyone’s responsibility. If a child or teacher saw someone in pain, they would help. Mental health problems also have clear symptoms. UKIP’s policies mean professionals will always be on hand to assist.  
EDUCATION AND WELLBEING Education should focus on personal wellbeing, practical coping skills, and developing positive social relationships, as well as academic performance. In stressing the latter, we have piled stress on our children. 
Our education system needs to be more balanced, so UKIP will introduce emotional health and wellbeing into the Ofsted inspection framework.
LETTING CHILDREN KNOW  THEY ARE NOT ALONE Those who have recovered from their problems are often best placed to help others facing similar 
challenges. UKIP will encourage schools to invite specialist support organisations into school. Letting our children know what resources are available to them may be life-changing.  
CHALLENGING MEDIA STEREOTYPES Elsewhere in this manifesto we condemn alien practices that oppress women, but we are not blind to our own failings. The ‘lad culture,’ which treats young women as sex objects and the ‘red circle of shame’ in celebrity magazines that hold women to unattainable levels of physical perfection are just two examples. Boys too are increasingly developing eating disorders and body image issues.   
UKIP will review advertising, broadcast and editorial codes, seeking commitments that editorial coverage and advertising campaigns will treat men and women with dignity and promote healthy body images. 
CYBER BULLYING We will extend the remit of the current cross government Internet Safety Strategy and invite participants to consider whether new legislation is required to address the problem of online abuse. 
PREVENTING DRUG USE AMONG  YOUNG PEOPLE UKIP will not legalise classified drugs. The social consequences could be catastrophic. We will rigorously enforce current legislation. Identifying drug users means they can be steered towards rehabilitation programmes. Families in which there is a high incidence of addiction can also be identified more easily and appropriate support provided. We include cannabis in this. Cannabis was used by 5.3 million 16-24 year-olds in the last year, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and this is extremely worrying. Teenage cannabis users are five times more likely to develop depression and anxiety, and those who use cannabis at around age fifteen have an above average risk of developing schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. That risk is increased in those with a genetic vulnerability. Cannabis can cause lasting psychotic illness. UKIP will ensure this message is emphasised by social workers, teachers, doctors,  and magistrates. 
Over 5,000 service personnel were diagnosed with a mental health problem in 2014, but even this shocking statistic 
may hide a wider problem. The charity Combat Stress says 40 per cent of serving personnel with symptoms do not seek help from the specialist Defence Mental Health Services (DMHS) because of general stigma. This trend continues after discharge. 
To encourage serving personnel and veterans to report mental health issues, receive a diagnosis and access services, UKIP will:
• Integrate mental wellbeing monitoring into existing medical examinations for serving armed forces personnel in potentially traumatic or ‘at risk’ roles 
• Extend the period during which discharged service personnel are able to access the specialist DMHS scheme from six months to two years.  
• Offer swift access to vital mental health services for patients diagnosed with debilitating long-term conditions and terminal illnesses
• Provide direct access to specialist mental health treatment for all pregnant women and mothers of children under 12 months of age
• Address and treat the strong link between addiction and mental illness
• End the postcode lottery for psychiatric liaison services in acute hospitals and A&E departments.