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Long Term Plan local guide

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. 

Read our local guide

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:

  • preventing people from developing mental health problems where possible
  • improving access to support for everyone who needs it
  • supporting people to recover and live well in the community
  • tackling inequality.

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:

  • increasing the amount of mental health funding being spent on services for children and young people, and promising that all young people who need specialist care can access it by 2028/9
  • improving access to IAPT talking therapies for people with anxiety, depression and other common mental health problems
  • a promise that everyone will be able to access timely, 24/7 mental health crisis support through NHS 111 by 2028/9 and an increase in the provision of alternative forms of crisis support, such as sanctuaries and crisis cafes
  • more mental health support in the community for people with severe mental health problems, for example, increased access to psychological therapies and employment support.

This much needed plan is welcome but a number of big questions remain unanswered, particularly around how something so ambitious can actually be delivered. 

Read our report

Commitments are welcome but it’s time to see improvement

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.

Read Paul's blog

Why we need to focus on prevention

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.

Why we need to focus on access to support

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.

Why we need to focus on recovery

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.

Why we need to focus on inequality

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.

Read our report

Transforming mental health in practice

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.

Mental Health A-Z

Information and advice on a huge range of mental health topics

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Training

Helping you to better understand and support people with mental health problems

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