The Government is seeking views from healthcare professionals, the public and those with lived experience of mental health to inform its new 10-year mental health plan.

The 12-week call for evidence, running from today (12 April) to 5 July, will look at how local services can work together to reduce the number of people who go onto develop mental health conditions, particularly children, young people and communities at the greatest risk.

Responses will also help refresh the 2012 National Suicide Prevention Plan, including what can be improved amid ‘record levels of people seeking treatment’ after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Around one in five adults in Britain experienced some form of depression in the first three months of 2021, over double pre-pandemic figures, the DHSC said.

It explained the evidence will look at several 'key’ questions:

  • How can we all promote positive mental wellbeing?
  • How can we all prevent the onset of mental ill-health?
  • How can we intervene earlier when people need support with their mental health?
  • How can we improve the quality and effectiveness of treatment for mental health conditions?
  • How can we all support people living with mental health conditions to live well?
  • How can we improve support for people in crisis?

It will also consider the impact of government initiatives such as green social prescribing, which involves nature-based interventions and activities, and Thriving at Work, which sets out how employers can better support employee mental health.

Introducing the call for evidence, health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said the pandemic put ‘unprecedented pressure’ on the nation’s mental health, but ‘too many people, particularly our children and young people, do not have the tools and support they need’.

He continued: ‘While we continue to expand and transform our mental health services under the NHS Long Term Plan to meet rising demand, we know we need to go further. …

‘We all have a role to play in resetting the way we approach mental health and our new 10-year plan will set an ambitious agenda for where we want the mental health of the nation to be a decade from now,’ he added.

Minister for mental health Gillian Keegan said: ‘Across the country, no matter your background, you should have the opportunity to grow up in, and stay in, good mental health. I want anyone who needs mental health services to be able to access them.

‘I encourage everyone, especially those who live with a mental health condition, carers and our brilliant workforce, to share their views on how we improve mental health services and reduce disparities across the country.’

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: ‘Mind has long been calling for a more joined-up approach from Government to mental health, one which follows the evidence of what works in areas like benefits, education, and housing to build a better future for us all, and reduces the glaring racial and social inequalities that persist in mental health.’

This comes after a study last month found a large increase in prescribing of anxiety medication in the past 10 years, particularly in young adults.

Also last month, HEE launched a pilot scheme that will train hundreds of community pharmacists to optimise medicines and help care for people with severe mental health conditions.