Our Chief Executive, Aidan Jones, has penned an open letter to Liz Truss outlining our priorities for the new government.
Dear Prime Minister
Firstly, may I congratulate you on your appointment as Prime Minister.
As Chief Executive of Relate, the largest provider of relationship support in England and Wales, the importance of healthy relationships is always front-of-mind for me. As you enter office tomorrow, I’m sure this won’t be lost on you either. Good relationships help to get us all through the ups and downs of life but building and maintaining them isn’t easy, whether that’s with partners, family, friends or colleagues – or, indeed, cabinet ministers and a public anticipating a historically difficult winter.
This Relationships Week (5-11 September), I’m particularly concerned about the impact of post-pandemic life and the cost-of-living crisis on the relationships and wellbeing of the nation. As the pressure mounts now, on top of everything we’ve all been through in the last few years, the words ‘mental health crisis’ will rarely have been more aptly applied. Relationships, wellbeing and our mental health are inextricably linked: problems with one so often lead to issues with another – we see this every day in our counselling work. That’s why I believe that supporting relationships, wellbeing and mental health more broadly must be part of the response to this hard winter and beyond.
In our recent reply to the government discussion paper on mental health and wellbeing, we included the following calls. I believe these actions would make an immediate and tangible difference to some of those most in need right now – particularly children, young people and families:
- Funding and embedding of the full range of relationship support in every community – for example via family hubs, demonstrating the importance of investing in families as a public policy priority.
- The introduction of government-funded counsellors in all primary and secondary schools in England, as there are elsewhere in the UK.
- Regular and mandatory mental health training for GPs covering the importance and range of relationship support available locally.
- Greater utilisation by GPs of social prescribing, including referrals to relationship support and family counselling.
As you work on your own strong and supportive relationships to see you through the unpredictability of the coming weeks, months and years, I would urge you to consider these calls to help afford those who are struggling the same opportunity.
I would be pleased to discuss these calls and our supporting evidence further with yourself or a member of your team at your earliest convenience.
Aidan Jones OBE