Laura Sharman 12 November 2020

Commission calls for action to reduce mental health inequalities

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted existing inequalities in mental health, a new report has warned.

The final report from the Commission for Equality in Mental Health has called for action from local and central government to reverse 'stark' inequalities in mental health.

The report finds that mental health inequalities mirror wider economic and social inequalities, meaning that many groups of people face two or three times the risk of mental ill health.

Centre for Mental Health chief executive, Sarah Hughes, said: 'Mental health inequalities are not new, and nor are reports about them. So today we want to prompt action, not more words. It’s time to say enough is enough. The pandemic has brought mental health inequalities into the open.

'So it is vital we take action to close the gaps. That means investing in early years services to help families give children a good start in life. It means paying workers a Living Wage and making the benefits system work better. It means creating inclusive schools and colleges where everyone feels safe and accepted. And it means ending ‘hostile environment’ policies, improving housing and tackling homelessness.

Mental Health for All? calls for extra local government funding to lead local action towards mental health equality in partnership with community groups.

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: 'The upcoming Spending Review should be used to provide ongoing funding for councils to invest in effective mental health services and support to meet existing, new and unmet demand.

'This should include a shift in focus and funding away from simply treating mental ill-health and towards a locally-led approach to promoting people’s mental wellbeing throughout their lives.'

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