Wednesday 29 September 2021 / 10:49 AM Keir Starmer

Labour will make mental health treatment available in less than a month

Labour will make mental health treatment available in less than a month


The next Labour Government will guarantee access to mental health treatment in less than a month for all who need it, Keir Starmer will announce today.


The Labour Leader will set out a transformative package to meet what he will describe as “one of the most urgent needs of our time.”


Labour plans would see a radical expansion of the mental health workforce, resulting in over a million more people receiving support each year, alongside unprecedented investment in children’s mental health after the disruption of the pandemic.


Addressing Labour’s conference, Starmer will commit the next Labour Government to:


  • Guaranteeing mental health treatment within a month for all who need it, setting a new NHS target, ensuring that patients start receiving appropriate treatment – not simply an initial assessment of needs – within a month of referral
  • Recruiting 8,500 new staff so that one million additional people can access treatment every year by the end of Labour’s first term in office
  • Putting an open access mental health hub for children and young people in every community, providing early intervention, drop-in services
  • Providing specialist mental health support in every school, so that they can support pupils and resolve problems before they escalate. This plan would see a full-time mental health professional in every secondary school and a part time professional in every primary school
  • Improving service quality, bringing in the first ever long-term, whole-Government plan for improving mental health outcomes, making early-intervention a reality, and broadening the range of services to those with severe mental health illnesses;
  • Giving mental health its fair share of funding, pledging that NHS spending on mental health will never fall and a fair share of mental health funding every time new funding is provided to the NHS.

Labour’s plan would address the current crisis in mental health services, which sees two-fifths of patients waiting for mental health treatment forced to contact emergency or crisis services prior to receiving treatment, with one in ten ending up in A&E. 1 in 4 adults those who had to wait after their initial assessment did not begin treatment for three months or more. The waits for children’s mental health services have been described as “agonising” by the Chief Executive of the Young Minds charity, with a BBC FOI revealing 20% of children are waiting more than 12 weeks to be seen.

Labour will fund the new measures by closing tax loopholes for private equity fund managers and removing the VAT exemption from private schools.


Keir Starmer MP, Leader of the Labour Party, is expected to say:


“One of the urgent needs of our time is mental health. Labour will guarantee that support will be available in less than a month and offer treatment to a million more people each year who need it.


“We’ll make sure children and young people get early help, putting specialist support in every school and a mental health hub in every community.


“This is prevention in action. Helping young people, looking after their well-being.”