General Election 2017 – Questions for your Local Candidates

At this General Election, it’s more important than ever that we focus on Mental Health.

Throughout the Election campaign, candidates will be talking to you on your doorsteps, in your streets or at hosting events in your constituency.  With our collective voice, we can send every MP that is elected on 8 June back to Parliament with the message that mental health matters.

So if you meet any general election candidates over the election period, why not ask them the following simple question: What would your party do to protect and increase access to mental health services?

Below are other questions that you can also ask.

Wales and Northern Ireland already have national strategies for school-based counselling yet the 10% of children with a mental health disorder here in England don’t.  What would you/your party do to improve mental health services for children in England, including access to a counsellor in every secondary school?

One in five students suffer a mental health problem during their studies.  What will you/your party do to ensure that Universities and Further Education colleges have the funding to provide properly-resourced psychological therapy support services, like counselling for students?

85% of older people with depression receive no help from the NHS. What would you/your party do to tackle this huge injustice and increase access to psychological therapies for older people?

Referral rates for older people to the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme is currently only at 6%, even though the target is 12%. This is despite evidence showing that these types of interventions can be beneficial in improving older people’s mental health and wellbeing. What would you/your party do to encourage health professionals to refer older patients to these services?

What commitment can I expect from your party to achieving parity of esteem for mental health with physical health?

People offered a full choice of evidence-based psychological therapies are five times more likely to report that therapy helped them back to work, yet over two thirds of people get no choice on the NHS. What will you/your party do to widen choice away from just cognitive-behavioural therapy and increase choice to psychological therapies, such as counselling for depression, couples therapy and dynamic interpersonal psychotherapy on the NHS?

Waiting times for talking therapies reported as often six months or longer, what will you/your party do to reduce the wait for psychological therapies on the NHS?

The annual cost of mental health illness to the UK economy is £105.2 billion, with cases of stress doubling since the 1990s. What would you/your party do to encourage employers to provide professional support, like counselling, for their employees?

Mental illness accounts for almost a quarter of the total disease burden in the UK yet receives just 13% of the health budget. What would you/your party do to reduce this funding gap?

Mental health conditions account for 23% of the burden of disease, however just 5% of the money spent on health research in the UK is spent on mental health. What would you/your party do to redress this imbalance in research funding?

We know that a consultation will be launched on the content of England’s NICE Depression Guideline in summer 2017, where there is a real risk that counselling and psychotherapy may be removed or downgraded. Whilst NICE is a body independent of Government, what can you do as my MP to help us challenge this decision?