New NHS England Mental Health Strategy (Feb 2016)

Foreward:

For far too long, people of all ages with mental health problems have been stigmatised and marginalised, all too often experiencing an NHS that treats their minds and bodies separately. Mental health services have been underfunded for decades, and too many people have received no help at all, leading to hundreds of thousands of lives put on hold or ruined, and thousands of tragic and unnecessary deaths.

But in recent years, the picture has started to change. Public attitudes towards mental health are improving, and there is a growing commitment among communities, workplaces, schools and within government to change the way we think about it. There is now a cross-party, cross-society consensus on what needs to change and a real desire to shift towards prevention and transform NHS care.

This independent report of the Mental Health Taskforce sets out the start of a ten year journey for that transformation, commissioned by Simon Stevens on behalf of the NHS. We have placed the experience of people with mental health problems at the heart of it. Over 20,000 people told us of the changes they wanted to see so that they could fulfil their life ambitions and take their places as equal citizens in our society. They told us that their priorities were prevention, access, integration, quality and a positive experience of care. Their voices are quoted in this report and their views are reflected in our recommendations.

First, we have made a set of recommendations for the six NHS arm’s length bodies to achieve the ambition of parity of esteem between mental and physical health for children, young people, adults and older people.

Second, we set out recommendations where wider action is needed. Many people told us that, as well as access to good quality mental health care wherever they are seen in the NHS, their main ambition was to have a decent place to live, a job or good quality relationships in their local communities. Making this happen will require a cross-government approach.

Finally, we have placed a particular focus on tackling inequalities. Mental health problems disproportionately affect people living in poverty, those who are unemployed and who already face discrimination. For too many, especially black, Asian and minority ethnic people, their first experience of mental health care comes when they are detained under the Mental Health Act, often with police involvement, followed by a long stay in hospital. To truly address this, we have to tackle inequalities at local and national level.

We want to thank all the Taskforce members, and the tens of thousands of people who contributed to and helped to co-produce this report.

View: The 5 Year Forward View for Mental Health

 

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