Engaging with policy:
Responding to the call for evidence for the UK Government’s new mental health plan
The government call for evidence offered a brilliant opportunity to feed in key findings from research, work, and experience to make a impact on the future of mental health in the UK.
Network members joined a practical session in June 2022 hosted by Professor Cathy Creswell to hear advice and discuss ideas for their own submissions.
We heard some great ideas: clearer pathways to early intervention, more integration between services, better inclusion of parents/carers, closing the gaps in the help available, reducing wait times… What’s your priority?
Even though the government call is now closed, the advice here and from our Policy Engagement Week transfers to any policy engagement work you are considering or involved in, so we really encourage you to take a look.
Government Call for Evidence
In 2022 the Department of Health & Social Care began developing a 10-year plan to improve mental health across the UK on behalf of the UK Government.
They wanted to hear from a wide range of networks and stakeholders including researchers, young people, those with lived experience expertise, and practitioners via a public call for evidence.
They asked a broad range of questions from promoting positive mental wellbeing to supporting people in crisis. There was no need to answer all the questions, just those you had an opinion on. Example questions include:
- How can we promote positive mental wellbeing?
- How can we prevent the onset of mental illness?
- How can we intervene earlier when people need support?
- How can we improve the quality and effectiveness of mental health treatment and support?
Open Lab Advice
You might feel there a lot of barriers to getting involved with the government call for evidence, or other similar initiatives, but we are hoping this thread based on advice Cathy gave at the Open Lab event will help allay concerns.
We've just had a great #PolicyEngagementWeek #OpenLab focused on responding to the @DHSCgovuk call for evidence for the new UK 10-year MH plan.— Emerging Minds Network (@EmergingMindsUK) June 17, 2022
You might feel there are a lot of barriers to getting involved, but we’re hoping we can dispel that feeling – tips below 👇👇 pic.twitter.com/AUuJ4vvu8c
The questions aren’t applicable to me:— Emerging Minds Network (@EmergingMindsUK) June 17, 2022
There’s a really broad range of qs from promoting positive mental wellbeing to supporting people in crisis. You don’t have to answer them all – pick the ones that feel closest to your passions, experience and expertise. [2/8] pic.twitter.com/nNDgDBNkhD
I don’t work in the NHS:— Emerging Minds Network (@EmergingMindsUK) June 17, 2022
A lot of the questions ask “how can *we all…*” – the new MH plan is not limited to the NHS. Think local authorities, education providers, employers, voluntary sector, community groups, family… we can all play a role in improving mh across the UK. [3/8]
I’m new to my field/haven’t published:— Emerging Minds Network (@EmergingMindsUK) June 17, 2022
Have confidence in your own experience – so many people will be contributing from such a wide area, don’t feel you need to cover everything or find every paper. What you do know, and what you are passionate about, is meaningful. [4/8]
I’m not sure how to write my answer:— Emerging Minds Network (@EmergingMindsUK) June 17, 2022
Keep your answers accessible, you don’t need to write in academic style – informal, punchy, bullet points are all fine. Assert your point, and then offer concise evidence (description or direct links) to back it up if you can. [5/8]
I don’t have any research to back up my thoughts:— Emerging Minds Network (@EmergingMindsUK) June 17, 2022
Think of "evidence" in the broadest sense – papers are great, but so is lived experience, clinical experience, news articles, things you’ve heard, links to current guidelines in your field and pointing out the gaps… [6/8]
I don’t have enough time:— Emerging Minds Network (@EmergingMindsUK) June 17, 2022
It’s better to submit something than nothing. Even half an hour sharing a few bullet points adds to the collective jigsaw puzzle of evidence and priorities. How about you block out space in your diary right now? “Perfection is the enemy of done!” [7/8]
Remember you can contribute to the @DHSCgovuk call for evidence until July 7th – have your say on the future of MH in the UK. Our collective body of evidence could make a real difference.— Emerging Minds Network (@EmergingMindsUK) June 17, 2022
You can find links to all the govt guidance on our website: https://t.co/f6zYymjbvD [8/8]