Policy and advocacy

Our policy and advocacy work calls on national and local government to reduce the factors known to pose a risk to people’s mental health, enhance those known to protect it and create the conditions needed for people to thrive.

We advocate for a preventative approach to mental health problems, so our policy development takes a cross-government approach, targeting the root causes of mental ill-health. Our Policy and Public Affairs team works closely with our Research and Programmes teams, taking what we learn from these areas.

If you want to learn more about our policy and advocacy work or are interested in working with us, you can [email protected] .

General election 2024: policy calls

The 2024 general election is an opportunity to create the conditions for everyone to experience good mental health across the UK. This page sets out what needs to be done to improve the mental health of the UK population.
Read our policy calls
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Our policy perspectives

These short policy summaries are part of a series setting out the major changes that are needed to improve mental health. It draws upon Mental Health Foundation research and analysis which can be found in the 'further reading' sections of each policy perspective.  

Trauma-informed practice: our policy perspective

Discover why trauma is a policy issue, and what actions government can take to promote trauma-informed practice across organisations and services.

Putting prevention first: our policy perspective

Learn more about the need for preventative measures across integrated care systems and how this will address public mental ill-health.

Featured reports

The mental health of asylum seekers and refugees in the UK

This report presents evidence on the circumstances which asylum seekers and refugees in the UK can face, and how these experiences can harm their mental health and even lead to suicidal feelings and actions.

Uncertain times: Anxiety in the UK and how to tackle it

For Mental Health Awareness Week 2023, we published this report to look at the prevalence and rates of anxiety amongst different groups of people, consider the main ways of coping with anxiety and provide recommendations to governments across the UK for preventing anxiety.

Mental health and the cost-of-living crisis report: another pandemic in the making?

Our report gives an overview of the current and likely effects the cost-of-living crisis has on people’s mental health. We cannot ignore the potentially devastating impact the cost-of-living crisis has on mental health.

The economic case for investing in the prevention of mental health conditions in the UK

Our new report with the London School of Economics and Political Science provides evidence from the UK and around the world that proves prevention interventions work.

Zero-hours contracts and mental health

We know that poorly paid and insecure work is linked to poor mental well-being, but there is limited research on the specific mental health effects of a zero-hours contract. Learn more in our report and policy briefing on the impacts zero-hours contracts have on mental health.

Read the report

Surviving or Thriving? The state of the UK's mental health

This 2017 report aimed to understand the prevalence of self-reported mental health problems, levels of positive and negative mental health in the population, and the actions people take to deal with the stressors in their lives.

Read the report

Better mental health for all: A public health approach to mental health improvement

In this report, we examine what can be done individually and collectively to enhance the mental health of individuals, families and communities by using a public health approach and look to support the development of knowledge and skills in public mental health.

Read the report

Poverty and mental health

This paper presents a conceptual framework for understanding the relationship between poverty and mental health and offers recommendations to improve the situation across the life course.

Read the report

Northern Ireland Manifesto 2022

Too many people in Northern Ireland experience mental distress that could be prevented. Who will commit to taking action that empowers every person and community in Northern Ireland to thrive with good mental health?

Read the manifesto

General Election manifesto 2019

Our manifesto presents five actions the next UK government can take to work towards better mental health for all.

Read the manifesto

Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy for Scotland 2022

The Scottish Government is preparing to write a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy for Scotland. It has asked the public to share their ideas on what actions should be included in a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy for Scotland.

Read the report

Making Prevention Happen: How to improve mental health and well-being for everyone in Wales

In 2021, we called for five key commitments from the next Welsh government in order to influence important change in the way mental health is handled, viewed and treated.

Read the manifesto

Mental Health and Well-being Plan Consultation – England

In July 2022, we responded to a government consultation on their vision for a new, ten-year mental health and well-being plan.

Read consultation

Our policy work

People working around a table and whiteboard
Diverse Experiences Advisory Panel (DEAP)
Diverse Experiences Advisory Panel (DEAP)
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Mental Health and Climate Change - COP26
Mental Health and Climate Change - COP26
MHPG policy group logos
Mental Health Policy Group (MHPG)
Mental Health Policy Group (MHPG)
Graphic for the summary report
Winston Churchill Memorial Trust: Mental Health Fellowships
Winston Churchill Memorial Trust: Mental Health Fellowships
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