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National service frameworks and strategies

Mental health outcomes strategy

A new mental health outcomes strategy was published in February 2011. The strategy aims to provide better mental health for all and to increase the amount of people recovering from mental illness. 

Read the full strategy, No health without mental health: a cross-government mental health outcomes strategy for people of all ages on the Department of Health website.

Although the strategy was well received, there is a clear consensus that further work is needed. The NHS is undergoing reforms to its public services and this provides an ideal opportunity to raise the profile for mental health and wellbeing within the new system and also to define how new organisations can contribute to this important agenda.

The new implementation framework was published on July 24 2012 to accompany the mental health outcomes strategy, it has three central aims:

  1. It sets out how progress will be monitored and reported and how the range of outcome measures currently available will be built upon in future.
  2. It makes a series of recommendations for local and regional organisations to take forward.
  3. It details a series of national commitments to support implementation.

The framework:

  • is for everyone with a role in improving mental health locally; not just health and care services
  • translates the strategy’s vision into specific actions, setting out the contribution that specific organisations can make
  • outlines what the new health and care system will mean for mental health
  • shows how improving mental health will help organisations meet their broader objectives

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 makes it explicit that mental health problems should be treated as seriously as physical health problems. The draft Mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board recognises the importance of putting mental health on a par with physical health, and tasks the NHS Commissioning Board with developing a collaborative programme of action to achieve this.

During the period of this government (2010-14), the numbers of people benefiting from Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services have continued to increase, with 528,000 people entering treatment in 2011/12 compared to 182,000 in 2009/10. These new services are achieving recovery rates of over 45% and are on track to meet recovery rates of at least 50%. In 2012, £32million was invested in training new therapists to meet the demand.

The Operating Framework for the NHS in England clearly states that the NHS is expected to continue expanding access to psychological services as part of the commitment to full roll-out of the IAPT programme by 2015. 

The NHS Outcomes Framework 2012/13 contains three improvement areas relating specifically to mental health:

  • premature mortality in people with serious mental illness
  • employment of people with mental illness
  • patient experience of community mental health services

For many of the indicators which relate to all patients, improving outcomes for people with mental health problems will be a crucial element of success.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists has been commissioned to lead work, involving a wide range of professionals and other organisations, to find practical ways to ensure mental health is treated equally to physical health.

A new Suicide Prevention Strategy will be published on September 10 2013, in time for World Suicide Prevention Day.

Joining forces with leading charities such as Comic Relief helps to tackle mental health stigma. The government will also provide funding of up to £16 million over the next four years for Time to Change, the leading stigma and anti-discrimination campaign, run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

The economic cost of mental illness

The wider economic cost of mental illness in England has been estimated at £105.2 billion each year. This includes direct costs of services, lost productivity at work, and reduced quality of life.

The cost of poor mental health to businesses is just over £1,000 per employee per year, or almost £26 billion across the UK economy.

In 2008/9, the NHS spent 10.8% of its annual secondary healthcare  budget on mental health services, which amounted to £10.4 billion. Service costs, which include NHS, social, and informal care costs amounted to £22.5 billion in 2007 in England.

Mental health investment

Over the last four years, overall investment in psychological therapy (PT) services has increased by 96%, from £197 million in 2008/09 to £386 million in 2011/12. IAPT investment increased to £213 million and now exceeds investment in non-IAPT services.

In 2010/11 the total money invested in adult mental health services for working age adults was £6.550 billion or £195.8 per head of weighted working age population. In the same year, £11.91 billion was spent on all age mental health disorders, compared to £11.26 billion in 2009/10.

There has been significant investment in inpatient environments, with over £2 billion invested in new and refurbished mental health facilities since 2001.


The 1 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

JonPur said on 04 February 2010

Interesting. Reminds me a bit of the work IRIE MIND does with video...see..

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Page last reviewed: 16/11/2012

Next review due: 16/11/2014

Key facts about mental health

Mental illness is the single largest cause of disability in the UK, contributing up to 22.8% of the total burden, compared to 15.9% for cancer and 16.2% for cardiovascular disease.

At least one in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life and one in six adults has a mental health problem at any one time.

One in ten children aged between five and 16 years has a mental health problem.

Half of those with lifetime mental health problems first experience symptoms by the age of 14, and three-quarters before their mid-20s.

Almost half of all adults will experience at least one episode of depression during their lifetime.

About 1 in 100 people has a severe mental health problem.

Some 90% of all prisoners are estimated to have a diagnosable mental health problem (including personality disorder) or a substance misuse problem.

Almost half of total tobacco consumption is by those with a mental disorder.


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Media last reviewed: 23/06/2011

Next review due: 23/06/2013