Hands of two people talking

Parliamentarians praise policy focus on mental health crisis

A bumper collection of articles from academics at The University of Manchester examining the intricacies of poor mental healthand offering policy suggestions to ease the plight of sufferers, has received cross-party praise from politicians in both Houses of Parliament. 

Published by Policy@Manchester, Open Minds draws together 10 evidence-based pieces which explore distinct aspectof mental illness, including how it affects the young, veterans, ex-prisoners, and members of the LGBT+ communityIt also places a valuablespotlight on remedies for those in need of help. 

Conservative MP Dean Russell, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health, was impressed by the publication. He said: “Tackling the stigma around mental health has been a priority in my role as a Member of ParliamentOpen Minds brings together a wealth of expertise and insight, giving policymakers valuable tools to understand further the challenges of poor mental health. I look forward to reading further publications and receiving briefings on their detailed work supporting mental health.” 

Liz Twist, the Labour MP for Blaydon, was equally welcomingShe said: “As parliamentarians, the more we know, the more we can changeThis report not only outlines causes of rising mental health, but it shares with us practical solutions that we vitally need. I’m grateful for its publication and look forward to discussing its contents more with colleagues to better support so many across our society on issues with their mental health.   

Former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch, another Conservative MP, has praised the major contribution to practical policymaking offered by The University of Manchester academicsShe said: “All the data, information, and research gathered on mental health, such as the work by Open Minds, is essential material for politicians shaping policy and guidanceEvidence-based policymaking delivers more efficient and effective outcomes for millions of people and will help combat poor mental health in the long term.” 

From Northern Ireland, Democratic Unionist Party Health Spokesperson Jim Shannon MP, welcomed the focus on ex-service personnel featured in the documentHe said: “It is vital that we find solutions that are underpinned by robust research evidence, and this is what the Open Minds authors have providedI am particularly pleased to see the new publication highlighting the need to understand and address the mental health needs of veterans and those currently serving in the UK Armed Forces. This is something I have long campaigned for.” 

And in the Upper House, Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Tyler of Enfield hailed the contribution she believes the research can make to improving younger livesShe said: “So many of the articles in this important and thought-provoking report underline the need for early action to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people. That’s why I support the calls being made for a national rollout of early support hubs in every local area so that children and young people can access the support they need for their mental health to stop problems escalating.” 

Professor Arpana Verma, Academic Co-Director of Policy@Manchester, was delighted by the responses of the Parliamentarians.  

She said:Our purpose, as The University of Manchester’s policy engagement unit, is to connect our world-class researchers with policymakers and influencers to help address the key public policy challenges of our time. 

Poor mental health is one of the most concerning issues our country facesI welcome the positive responses we have received from MPs and peers to Open Minds and look forward to continuing to engage with them on this and other pressing policy areas.”    


Open Minds is available to read on the Policy@Manchester website.