Government’s mental health vision ‘will need resources’


Campaigners have welcomed the government’s new mental health “vision” for the next ten years, but say it would need to be accompanied by sufficient funding and strong political leadership.
The Department of Health (DH) said the launch of its New Horizons public consultation marked a “new era in mental health”, with a stronger emphasis on “public mental health and well-being”.
By 2020, the consultation document says, people with mental health problems should be receiving personalised care packages and making decisions about their own care and treatment services; inequalities in access to services for black and minority ethnic people should have disappeared; and the stigma associated with mental health problems should have “declined dramatically”.
It also says that everyone should have access to high quality care, and people with mental illness should no longer be at greater risk of physical health problems such as heart disease.
The document also focuses on the need for early intervention, and improving the transition from child and adolescent services to those for adults.
But the DH warns that it will have to take account of the “financial constraints” the NHS will face over the next three to five years.
Paul Corry, director of public affairs for the mental health charity Rethink, welcomed the focus on early intervention, personalised services, and recovery.
But he added: “This aspirational strategy will be pie in the sky unless it is backed up by adequate resources and dedicated political leadership.”
But Phil Hope, the care services minister, said there would be no need for the extra investment that followed the launch of the ten-year national framework on mental health in 1999.
Instead, he said, the focus should be on prevention, early intervention, innovation, collaboration and productivity.
Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said New Horizons was an opportunity to “transform the lives of millions of people” who experience mental health problems, and also help the nation maintain “good mental wellbeing”.
But he said there was an urgent need to improve services.
He added: “This week has seen some shocking revelations into the appalling state of inpatient wards, and people are still struggling to access vital services such as crisis care and counselling services.”
The consultation will last until 15 October. For more details, visit
23 July 2009