“Revitalizing our social contract: Letter to the Prime Minister”
By NCVC Staff | Published on Oct 11, 2023
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Dear Prime Minister,
The world has irrevocably changed due to the impact of Covid-19. The loss of lives, extended periods of isolation, and economic instability have brought widespread despair to individuals, families, and communities. As we navigate this ongoing pandemic, it is crucial to recognize the emerging crisis in our nation’s mental health. Without urgent, cross-government action, we risk paying a heavy price for years to come.
In a remarkable show of solidarity, 50 voluntary and social sector organizations have joined forces to form an unprecedented coalition. Representing some of the most vulnerable people in the UK, we speak with a single, resounding voice. Our call is clear: the UK government must work urgently with us to establish a Mental Health Renewal Plan. This plan requires both the financial and political backing at the highest level to translate into immediate action.
The effects of this crisis on our nation’s mental health are already becoming apparent. Research conducted by our organizations reveals that nearly 80 percent of people living with mental illness have experienced a worsening of their condition as a direct result of the pandemic. Every day, over 7,000 individuals struggling to cope reach out to organizations like Samaritans for emotional support. Additionally, almost half of the UK population is grappling with high levels of anxiety.
Even before the pandemic, many individuals with mental health problems found it challenging to access the basic support needed to maintain their well-being. With the economic impact of the crisis expected to result in half a million more people experiencing mental health issues, returning to business as usual is simply not an option.
We understand, as you do, that no solitary organization, agency, or government department can provide all the solutions to this immense challenge. However, as the Prime Minister, you possess the authority to convene the right people and make a profound difference. Together, we have the opportunity to lead the world in a Covid-19 recovery that places the mental health of our nation at its core.
For this endeavor to succeed, it is imperative that the Mental Health Renewal Plan is led by a cross-government group and actively involves the individuals in our communities who are currently experiencing or at risk of poor mental health. By drawing on the knowledge gained before the crisis and the insights discovered throughout it, we can utilize our collective expertise to create a better future for the mental health and well-being of our nation.
Our request to the government is to collaborate with the mental health and broader voluntary sectors, as well as their allies, to establish a New Social Contract. This contract will serve as a blueprint towards creating a mentally healthier society. Only through partnerships, collaboration, and full engagement with those struggling with mental health issues can we avert the looming mental health crisis, address health inequalities, and enable the UK to emerge stronger from this pandemic.
To this end, we, the undersigned, pledge to work in partnership with the UK government in developing and implementing a comprehensive Mental Health Renewal Plan.
- Caroline Abrahams, CEO, Age UK
- Kate Lee, CEO, Alzheimer’s Society
- Kathy Roberts, CEO, Association of Mental Health Providers
- Emma Rigby, CEO, Association of Young People’s Health
- Kay Boycott, CEO, Asthma UK
- Andrew Radford, CEO, Beat
- Kay Boycott, CEO, British Lung Foundation
- Helen Walker, CEO, Carers UK
- Sarah Hughes, CEO, Centre for Mental Health
- Clare Stafford, CEO, Charlie Waller Memorial Trust
- Poppy Jaman, CEO, City Mental Health Alliance
- Steven Wibberley, CEO, Cruse Bereavement Care
- Chris Askew, CEO, Diabetes UK
- Sinead McBrearty, CEO, Education Support
- Ronnie Wilson, CEO, First Step Trust
- Paula Ojok, CEO, Helplines Partnership
- Natalie Seymour, Clinical Psychologist/Clinical Lead, MAC-UK
- Matthew Reed, CEO, Marie Curie
- Alison Pay, CEO, Mental Health at Work
- Simon Blake, CEO, Mental Health First Aid England
- Mark Rowland, CEO, Mental Health Foundation
- Victoria Hornby, CEO, Mental Health Innovations
- Sean Duggan, CEO, Mental Health Network
- Brian Dow, CEO, Mental Health UK
- Paul Farmer, CEO, Mind
- Anna Feuchtwang, CEO, National Children’s Bureau & Chair of the End Child Poverty Coalition
- Jacqui Morrissey, Co-Chair, National Suicide Prevention Alliance
- Akiko Hart, CEO, National Survivor User Network
- Leigh Wallbank, CEO, OCD Action
- Ged Lynn, CEO, PAPYRUS
- Catherine Roche, CEO, Place2Be
- Jabeer Butt, CEO, Race Equality Foundation
- Mark Winstanley, CEO, Rethink Mental Illness
- Nathan Dick, Head of Policy, Revolving Doors Agency
- Neil Tester, Director, Richmond Group of Charities
- Catherine Johnstone, CEO, Royal Voluntary Services
- Ruth Sutherland, CEO, Samaritans
- James Watson O’Neill, CEO, SignHealth
- Nancy Kelley, CEO, Stonewall
- Juliet Bouverie, CEO, Stroke Association
- Rosie Tressler, CEO, Student Minds
- Brendan Hill, CEO, The Concern Group
- Chris Martin, CEO, The Mix
- Amanda Janoo, Knowledge and Policy Lead, The Wellbeing Economy Alliance
- Phil Pyatt, CEO, TimeBank
- Linda Bryant, CEO, Together for Mental Wellbeing
- Thomas Lawson, CEO, Turn2us
- Liam O’Toole, CEO, Versus Arthritis
- Emma Thomas, CEO, YoungMinds
- Barry Williams, Interim CEO, Youth Access