New Horizons heralds a new era for mental health and wellbeing
Posted Monday 7 December 2009
Today the government has launched New Horizons, a new cross-governmental strategy into how mental health and mental wellbeing can be incorporated into every aspect of our daily lives. The National Service Framework for Mental Health, which set out the ten-year plan for the development of mental health services in the UK, came to an end this autumn, and New Horizons will lay down the vision for mental health and wellbeing provision over the coming years.
Mind’s Chief Executive Paul Farmer said:
New Horizons has broken new ground by setting out irrefutable evidence that improving mental health lies in considering the impact of every aspect of our physical and social environments, and is the responsibility of government both locally, nationally, and across all departments. Now that this benchmark has been set, it represents a turning point that no new government can turn back from. Good mental wellbeing isn’t just about treatment, it’s also about prevention, and by focusing on the factors that take their toll on our wellbeing in the first place, we have a chance at achieving better mental health for everyone.
We have paid the price of getting mental health care wrong again and again, through lives lost, lives ruined, the strain on the benefits bill, the strain on the health service, and the widespread stigma that still disrupts our society. The future of a mentally healthy society has to see all corners of government putting the wellbeing of the population at the centre of what they do, and incorporating it into everything from employment services to housing and town planning.
We now have a new vision for mental health, but we are yet to see an action plan for how the vision will become a reality. While New Horizons aims to improve everyone’s wellbeing, it should not draw attention from the fact that in many areas, basic mental health services are still lacking, people are still stuck on waiting lists for crucial treatments and there is a long way to go before everyone can access support as and when they need it. Improvements in general wellbeing and in mental health services are needed, and we need to ensure that one doesn’t happen at the expense of the other.