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UK election 2019: where do the parties stand on young people's mental health?

With a general election set for 12 December 2019, here's what the three biggest UK-wide parties have promised to do for young people's mental health in their manifestos.

As part of our Act Early campaign, we’re calling on the next government to make sure that all young people can get the mental health support they need, when they need it.

But with a general election set for 12 December, what have the main UK-wide parties promised in their manifestos? Below, we’ve pulled together four key policies on young people’s mental health from each of the three biggest UK-wide parties.

Please note – these are not exhaustive lists of each party’s policies in these areas, and we would strongly recommend you read each party’s manifesto (linked below) to find out more.

The Conservative Party

  • within the first three months of a Conservative government, the NHS Long-Term Plan, which includes commitments on young people's mental health, would be made law
  • the Conservative Party have committed to treating mental health with the same urgency as physical health. This means introducing legislation so patients with mental health conditions have greater control over their treatment and receive the dignity and respect they deserve
  • the Conservative Party have committed to help teachers tackle bullying, including homophobic bullying
  • legislation would be introduced to make the UK “the safest place in the world to be online” – protecting children from online abuse and harms

Read the full Conservative Party manifesto.

The Labour Party

  • a Labour government would spend £845 million per year on young people’s mental health, establish a network of open access mental health hubs to enable more children to access mental health support, and recruit almost 3,500 qualified counsellors to guarantee every child access to school counsellors
  • the Labour Party have committed to implementing in full the recommendations set out in the independent review of the Mental Health Act, so that people are given choice, independence and the treatment they need
  • the Labour Party would end what they describe as the ‘high stakes’ testing culture of schools by scrapping Key Stage 1 and 2 SATs and baseline assessments, and refocussing assessment on supporting pupil progress
  • a Labour government would develop a cross-governmental National Strategy for Childhood focusing on health, security, wellbeing and poverty

Read the full Labour Party manifesto.

The Liberal Democrats

  • a Liberal Democrat government would appoint a Minister for Wellbeing, who would make an annual statement to Parliament on the main measures of wellbeing and introduce wellbeing impact assessments for all government policies
  • the Liberal Democrats have committed to prioritise early intervention to prevent people from experiencing a mental health crisis and to minimise the number and duration of inpatient stays
  • the Liberal Democrats would also introduce further mental health maximum waiting-time standards, starting with children’s services, services for people with eating disorders, and severe and enduring conditions
  • a Liberal Democrat government would ensure that all teaching staff have the training to identify mental health issues and that schools provide immediate access for pupil support and counselling, and they would also focus on tackling bullying in schools

Read the full Liberal Democrat manifesto.

The other parties

We have only listed four key policies on young people's mental health from the three biggest UK-wide parties.

The manifestos of other parties standing for election across the UK are also available below:

If mental health - or young people’s mental health more specifically - is one of the most important issues for you this election, we would encourage you to read each party’s manifesto in more depth to see what you think of their policies – to ensure that young people can get the help they need, when they need it.

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