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Why Politicians Must Stop Pandering and Start Prioritising Mental Health

Why Politicians Must Stop Pandering and Start Prioritising Mental Health

In recent years, mental health has rightly emerged as a crucial issue for the public. However, the response from our political leaders has been disheartening. Despite a clear mandate from the public to prioritise mental health, politicians seem more inclined to offer gimmicks and empty promises rather than substantial support and funding.

The Public vs. Politicians: A Stark Contrast

The mental health charity Mind has highlighted a glaring disconnect between public concern and political action. A recent poll conducted by More In Common reveals that the public prioritises mental health funding above many other critical areas, including education, housing, defence, the environment, and energy security. In fact, mental health services consistently rank within the top five priorities for public spending, alongside healthcare, hospital services, GP services, and emergency services.

This data clearly shows that mental health is a major concern for the public. Yet, the lack of discussion on mental health during the leadership debate on 4 June 2024 underscores a troubling trend: politicians are not taking the mental health crisis seriously.

The Mental Health Crisis: An Urgent Need for Action

The scale of the mental health crisis in the UK is staggering. According to Mind, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. This statistic underscores the urgent need for robust support systems. Despite this, mental health services remain underfunded and overstretched. The absence of meaningful dialogue and action from political leaders only exacerbates the problem.

Politicians often resort to token gestures and superficial commitments instead of implementing substantial, evidence-based policies. This approach not only fails to address the root causes of the mental health crisis but also undermines the public’s trust in their leaders.

Gimmicks vs. Genuine Support

It’s time for politicians to move beyond pandering and start listening to their constituents. Whether that’s national service or some questionable spending decisions; the public’s message is clear: mental health matters. We need comprehensive strategies and increased funding to ensure that mental health services can meet the growing demand.

This means investing in:

  • Expanded Access to Mental Health Services: Ensuring that everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic status, has access to high-quality mental health care.
  • Early Intervention Programmes: Identifying and supporting individuals at risk of mental health issues before they escalate.
  • Workplace Mental Health Initiatives: Encouraging businesses to adopt mental health-friendly policies and provide support for their employees.
  • Education and Awareness Campaigns: Reducing stigma and increasing awareness about mental health issues and the available resources.
  • Research and Innovation: Funding research to develop new treatments and improve existing ones.


The mismatch between public priorities and political action on mental health is unacceptable. The general public has spoken loudly and clearly: mental health support is a top priority. It’s high time for politicians to catch up and take the mental health crisis seriously. Gimmicks and fake promises won’t cut it. We need genuine commitment, increased funding, and comprehensive policies to address this pressing issue. The wellbeing of millions depends on it.

By aligning their actions with public sentiment, politicians can make a real difference in the lives of those affected by mental health issues. It’s not just about politics; it’s about humanity and the shared responsibility to support one another. Let’s urge our leaders to step up and make mental health a genuine priority.

At Oxfordshire Mind, we have already outlined our priorities to highlight to political parties.

Key Messages

  1. Use your voice, and understand how to take part: the debate over the coming weeks will be enriched by those in the Oxfordshire Mind community, including those who bring Lived Experience of mental health challenges.
  2. Commitment to Mental Health Funding: Demand substantial and sustained investment in mental health services.
  3. Accessible and Integrated Mental Health Services: Promote local, easily accessible, and integrated mental health care.
  4. Preventative Mental Health Measures: Advocate for early intervention and preventative care programmes.
  5. Everyone is entitled to good mental health support: Challenge approaches which fail to address health inequalities
  6. Reducing Stigma and Raising Awareness: Promote mental health awareness and reduce stigma through education and public campaigns.
  7. Policy Advocacy and Collaboration: Call for ongoing engagement with mental health organisations to inform policy.