Thursday, 23 July 2009

New Horizons - government consults on mental health and well-being

New vision to make mental health everyone’s business.

Urban allotments, reading groups and computer training for the over 50s are just some of the good practice initiatives featured as part of a new approach to public mental health and well-being, announced by Care Services Minister Phil Hope today (00.01am Thursday)

‘New Horizons’ marks a new era in mental health. It sets out a dynamic new approach to improving well-being for the whole population, aiming for the first time to create a powerful alliance that can target the root causes of poor mental health.

The consultation launched today was developed with a wide range of partners, all of whom have a vital role to play. As well as health services, the response of local authorities and education will be critical. From schools to employers, and the NHS to the criminal justice system, New Horizons makes mental health everyone’s business.

A number of key themes are being consulted on:

· prevention and public mental health– recognising the need to prevent as well as treat mental health and promote mental health and well-being.

· stigma – strengthening our focus on social inclusion and tackling stigma and discrimination wherever they occur.

· early intervention –expanding the principle of early intervention to improve long term outcomes.

· personalised care – ensuring care is based on individuals’ needs and wishes leading to recovery.

· multi-agency commissioning/collaboration – working to achieve a joint approach between local authorities, the NHS and others, mirrored by cross government collaboration.

· innovation – seeking out new and dynamic ways to achieve our objectives based on research and new technologies.

· value for money – delivering cost-effective and innovative services in a period of recession.

· strengthening transition – improving the often difficult transition from child and adolescent mental health services to adult services, for those with continuing needs and issues.

One in six of us experience a mental health problem at any one time. Mental health care has been transformed over recent years, and services in England are now recognised as international leaders, but New Horizons aims to take that even further.

As we enter the next decade, services need to be personalised, allowing the patient to make decisions about their treatment, monitor their own condition and tell the professionals what it is they want to help get their life back on track.

Care Services Minister Phil Hope said:

“Better mental health and well-being is vital for a healthy society. People with mental health problems are more likely to do other things that damage their health, such as have a poor diet, smoke or take drugs. So promoting good mental health is a key part of tackling many other health inequalities.

“Over the last ten years of the national service framework we’ve transformed mental healthcare but now we want to go further. Our aim is to build on recent achievements, whilst simultaneously taking the next logical step – helping to prevent mental health problems from developing in the first place. New Horizons will help us do this.

“We want to involve everyone in building mentally healthier communities, which is why it is important that people up and down the country tell us what they think about the ideas set out in New Horizons.”

Steve Shrubb, Director of the Mental Health Network of the NHS Confederation said:

“The strength of this consultation is that it has been developed with the involvement of a full range of organisations* in mental healthcare. Promoting mental health is everyone's business and the coalition fully supports the move to embedding good mental health across society while continuing to improve services.

“Only by working together across government can we address problems as early as possible, combat stigma and put mental health service users in charge of the support they receive. We know there can be no health without mental health. Fostering good mental well-being will be a vital part of how we respond as a society to the challenges of the recession.”

*The Future Vision Coalition consists of the following national organisations:

· Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
· Association of Directors of Children’s Services
· Local Government Association
· Mental Health Foundation
· Mental Health Network, NHS Confederation
· Mental Health Providers Forum, NHS Confederation
· Mind
· Rethink
· Royal College of Psychiatrists
· Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health
· Together

Louis Appleby, National Director for Mental Health Services said:

“Around 50% of lifetime mental illness starts before the age of 14 and continues to have a detrimental affect on people’s lives. Potentially half of these problems are preventable.

“The New Horizons vision is about promoting better mental health and well-being. It is also about high quality, responsive services, that intervene early and effectively to lessen the long-term effects of mental ill-health. Services that are focused not only on treatment outcomes, but on wider quality of life issues, strengthened by efforts to promote social inclusion and tackle stigma and discrimination of every kind.”

“Poor mental health is already believed to cost the economy £77billion a year, with the King’s Fund predicting that the cost in terms of GDP will double to over 10% by 2026. The indirect costs of poor mental health include poor educational attainment, unemployment and increased crime and anti-social behaviour.”

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