Mental Health Crisis

Here you can find out about our ongoing campaign to tackle the mental health crisis. We believe the crisis has been caused by nearly 10 years of austerity leaving a population uniquely vulnerable to mental health issues and services struggling to provide the care so urgently needed.

Chronic underfunding has pushed mental health services to the brink, and the problem is getting worse. Understaffing, cuts and failure to provide early interventions for mental health patients is putting unprecedented pressure on A&E departments, emergency services and beds. Patients are being forced to travel further, and suffer worsening health, as they wait longer for treatment. In all this the experience of service users is often unheard, especially when it comes to women and people from BME communities.

It is our aim to bring together existing NHS and service user campaigns, the Labour Movement, trade unions and members of the public into a new network of activists ready to take on the root causes of the mental health crisis.

In September 2019 we called an emergency Mental Health Crisis Summit to bring together campaigners and individuals to pool resources, share stories and plan for the campaigns ahead.

Here is the video we made to promote the event:

Dr Sonia Adesera, a trainee GP and activist told us:

"You see more and more people going to A&E with mental health issues, more police time is getting taken up trying to support people with mental health issues.

"The number of people being detained under the Mental Health Act increased by 47 per cent over the past decade. That's people getting sectioned because their mental health is getting so bad as we are not supporting them in the communities."

Clearly the mental health crisis is getting out of control. Our Mental Health Crisis Summit was a sell out and people came from all the over the country to get involved.

Here are some of the contribution from the day:

Speakers on the day included, Jonathan Ashworth MP Shadow Secretary for Health, Ken Loach film director and campaigner, Denise McKenna Mental Health Resistance Network and service user, Kevin Courtney NEU General Secretary, Ian Hodson National President BFAWU, Rachel Bannister Mental Health Time for Action, mother and service userDr Louise Irvine Health Campaigns Together, Tom Madders Young Minds, David Munday mental heath lead Unite the Union, Catherine Gamble professional lead for Mental Health RCN, Michelle Joseph actress, educator and service user, Elizabeth Cotton Surviving Work, Dorothy Gould National Survivors User Network and service user, Dr Vic Chapman from the Royal Free, Cath Wakeman OBE trauma therapist, Dr Nihal Fernando Consultant Psychiatrist, Rashaun Pacquette Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and service user, Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk & Suffolk, and many more...

We also put together a booklet to give all attendees on the day of the event which you can download here.

Our friends at the TUC also put together this useful campaigning resource we recommend you read too;

Breaking Point: The crisis in mental health funding 


Workshop Demands from the Mental Health Crisis Summit*

 The mental health of workers

    1. Trade Unions to build capacity to more effectively support reps and campaign in support of mental health services with communities.
    2. Get better understanding of social model n workplace – all employers to have a plan for prevention of stress at work.
    3. More resources for inspection and regulation of employers

 Children and young people's mental health 

    1. End child poverty
    2. Structural change in society needed
    3. Fund NHS CAMHS services properly
    4. Fund school based counsellors
    5. Prevention: local government, schools, workplaces, community
    6. Effective services to tackle bullying in schools
    7. Consider role of social media in
    8. School reform needed to place less emphasis on exams and SATS
    9. Right help at right time
    10. Early intervention
    11. Good trauma resolution intervention
    12. Stronger pathways across public services and NHS
    13. Community based care and specialist care close to home
    14. Importance of continuity of care
    15. Links between services (adult and child e.g. family)
    16. Reinstated Sure Start

 Untangling the threads of trauma workshop

    1. Mental health services should be trauma informed – in that they ask what happened to you, not what’s wrong with you
    2. They should focus on whole life support
    3. Have true continuity of care
    4. Understand importance of context
    5. Social causes of trauma including those affecting parenting, pregnancy, and 0-2 years age groups
    6. Focus on whole system not just mental health services e.g. Police, fire department, and teachers. All should be trauma informed including more education about what happens to us impacts us
    7. Services need to be compassionate, kind and focused on true healing for that individual in the way they feel is best

 Hostile environment and racism in mental health

Core principle: NHS carefree at the point of delivery. That is the principle it was built on and that has to be enacted.

    1. Complete abolition of NHS charges. This incudes the visa surcharge for overseas visitors. The up front charges
    2. Education and empowerment of front line mental health staff as well as A&E staff. Ensuring they understand the rights of patients and more importantly the rights of staff to effuse to collude with hostile environment polices e.g. sharing patient data with the Home Office, which is not mandatory.
    3. Racism has profoundly damaging and enduring effects on mental health. In recognising that we live in a society that has institutional racism embedded in it we need specific research and interventions to address the impact of racism on mental health and wellbeing of the BAME communities and strategies to deal with barriers to accessing care experienced by members of the BAME communities.

 Social model of mental health

    1. Social model that is enforceable I UK law via UNCRPD
    2. IAPTS inquiry that is service user led empowered to find what therapeutic services we need
    3. Funding for the whole system but specifically of user led therapeutic alternative talking therapies and other models that create safe spaces
    4. A single agency to stop people falling through the cracks. Something that thinks widely and about carers

Towards a Mental Health Crisis Charter. From listening to the reports and speeches these are some of the ideas that have come up that could go into a charter for mental health:

    1. End austerity and poverty; including housing, income inequality, insecure working conditions
    2. End to Universal credit and inhumane work capacity assessments
    3. End the hostile environment for migrants accessing NHS care
    4. An end to stigma and discrimination against marginalised groups of society, in particular BAME groups, within mental health services
    5. Massively increase funding for mental health services
    6. End private provision of mental health services
    7. Involve services users and their families in a very central and meaningful way in shaping services
    8. Better support for mental health of staff in their workplaces
    9. Massive recruitment of mental health staff and an end to staff cuts
    10. Target of 100% of children and young people with a diagnosable mental health condition receiving treatment, not in a decade but within the next two years.
    11. Early intervention as a priority – properly staffed and funded
    12. Community based mental health care as a priority
    13. But sufficient mental health beds locally for those that do need admission. An end to out of area placements.
    14. School based counselling services in 100% of schools

*These demands and more are being worked up into a mental health crisis charter and will form the basis for our next campaigning steps