The NHS Long Term Plan contains at its heart a commitment to drastically improve the availability and quality of mental health services across England.
Our new online publication Transforming mental health in your community: a local guide to delivering the NHS Long Term Plan is aimed at anyone who wants to shape local strategic plans and sets out the key questions every local plan needs to answer to ensure it meets the national ambition to transform mental health services.
The guide also highlights the critical role that communities and the voluntary sector can play in co-producing and delivering mental health services.
Last year, as the Government announced it was increasing investment in the NHS, we set out our vision for transforming mental health services in England. For too long, mental health services have been overstretched and underfunded in the NHS, meaning too many people with mental health problems don't get the help they need to stay well.
Our report, Transforming Mental Health, argued that mental health should be at the heart of the new long term plan for the NHS. The four priorities we set out for mental health were:
NHS England has now published its ten year strategy, which includes a commitment to increase funding for mental health services by £2.3 billion per year – if delivered, this will mean that a greater proportion of NHS funding will be being spent on mental health.
Other commitments in the plan include:
This much needed plan is welcome but a number of big questions remain unanswered, particularly around how something so ambitious can actually be delivered.
What's next for the NHS Long Term Plan?
A comprehensive, cross-government strategy is now needed to complement the NHS plan, and lead to the changes that will have an enormous impact on the day-to-day experiences of people with mental health problems. Our Chief Executive Paul Farmer reflects on the NHS long term plan, and writes about what needs to happen next.
It's time to build understanding of mental health, through targeted public health programmes that prevent mental health problems from developing and from being ignored. Delivered through the NHS and in schools, workplaces and community groups, these programmes – combined with further support for the Time to Change campaign – will also help to reduce mental health stigma and discrimination.
It's time for significant investment in mental health with a faster rate of growth, so timely treatment and support becomes the norm whenever someone experiences a mental health problem. An agreed set of ambitions for services and treatment is needed with a greater focus on early intervention services that can prevent mental health crises. High-quality crisis services also need to be prioritised. And physical and mental health services need to be integrated more closely and more effectively.
It's time to improve the support people receive as they live with or recover from a mental health problem. That means being able to access good quality accommodation. It means having the right help to get back into work, education or training. It means an emphasis on comprehensive support and care, effectively meeting whatever needs people may have. We need a corresponding cross-government plan to match the ambition set by the Prime Minister and the Government.
It's time to reverse existing health inequalities, by investing in communities where the prevalence of mental health problems is disproportionately high – and by tackling institutional discrimination. We also need to take a hard look at the causes of persistent inequalities that affect how people engage with services – including racism, poverty, social exclusion, violence and trauma.
Read Mind's report 'Transforming mental health' for our full recommendations to the NHS.
Our report, Transforming Mental Health, argued that the NHS Long Term Plan should focus on four key areas: prevention, access to support, recovery and inequality. The programmes below, all co-produced with people with mental health problems, show how change can be achieved in practice.