Society consultation responses

Ella Rhodes reports.

This summer is a key time for several important government consultations on plans for mental health, acquired brain injury and education for students with special educational needs and disabilities. The British Psychological Society is asking members for their input. 

The government recently published a discussion paper asking for support in developing a new long-term mental health and wellbeing strategy. The paper sets out the current state of mental health in England, including increases in mental health problems in children and young people and the disparities among people living in more deprived areas (who are twice as likely to access mental health services compared with those in less deprived areas). 

The paper also states that the annual cost of mental ill health in the workplace to government is estimated to be between £24 billion and £27 billion. The Lived Experience Advisory Network at NHS England and Improvement said in the paper that a health and wellbeing plan should shift how we approach the subject of mental health, and emphasised the importance of meeting people’s basic needs and supporting a sense of purpose and identity. The group encouraged people of all ages who had lived experience of mental health conditions to respond to questions laid out in the discussion paper. 

The questions, developed alongside people with lived experience of mental health conditions and other stakeholders, ask how we can all promote positive wellbeing, prevent mental health conditions, intervene earlier when people need support, improve treatments, support those with mental health conditions to live well, and improve support for those in crisis. 

A largescale review of the education of students with SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) is also reaching the end of its consultation period. The government commissioned the review in 2019 as a response to three challenges within SEND education and alternative provision (AP) in England. 

Those challenges, the government wrote, include the negative experiences of navigating the SEND and AP systems for pupils and their families and carers, the outcomes for SEND pupils which are ‘consistently worse than their peers across every measure’, and the fact the system is not financially sustainable. Among other things the review lays out plans to establish a new SEND and AP system which will set national standards for how children and young people’s needs are met across education, health and care. The government also plans to create local SEND partnerships – bringing together those working in education, health, and care to plan how to meet those national standards.

The Department for Health and Social Care has also released a call for evidence on developing a strategy for acquired brain injuries which can include the after-effects of strokes, brain haemorrhages, accidents, and falls. The consultation questions ask respondents about their experiences of acquired brain injuries or caring for those with such injuries, what the scope of a strategy should be and whether it should include other neurological conditions.  

- The BPS is developing responses to all of these consultations. The SEND Review and the acquired brain injury strategy have a deadline of 1 July, and the mental health plan consultation 7 July. If you would like to contribute to any of this work please email [email protected]

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