Closing the Gap: priorities for essential change in mental health

Closing the Gap: priorities for essential change in mental healthThis document sets out 25 priorities for improving the planning and delivery of local mental health services and thereby improve the lives of people with mental health problems in the next 2 or 3 years.


This document challenges the health and social care community to go further and faster to transform the support and care available to people with mental health problems – both children and adults. It also challenges the public health community, with local government in the lead, to help give mental health and wellbeing promotion and prevention the long overdue attention it needs and deserves.

Listen to the speeches from the launch event below.

The 25 priorities for action set out in the document are as follows.

Increasing access to mental health services

  1. High-quality mental health services with an emphasis on recovery should be commissioned in all areas, reflecting local need
  2. We will lead an information revolution around mental health and wellbeing
  3. We will, for the first time, establish clear waiting time limits for mental health services
  4. We will tackle inequalities around access to mental health services
  5. Over 900,000 people will benefit from psychological therapies every year
  6. There will be improved access to psychological therapies for children and young people across the whole of England
  7. The most effective services will get the most funding
  8. Adults will be given the right to make choices about the mental health care they receive
  9. We will radically reduce the use of all restrictive practices and take action to end the use of high risk restraint, including face down restraint and holding people on the floor
  10. We will use the Friends and Family Test to allow all patients to comment on their experience of mental health services – including children’s mental health services
  11. Poor quality services will be identified sooner and action taken to improve care and where necessary protect patients
  12. Carers will be better supported and more closely involved in decisions about mental health service provision
    Integrating physical and mental health care
  13. Mental health care and physical health care will be better integrated at every level
  14. We will change the way frontline health services respond to self-harm
  15. No-one experiencing a mental health crisis should ever be turned away from services
    Starting early to promote mental wellbeing and prevent mental health problems
  16. We will offer better support to new mothers to minimise the risks and impacts of postnatal depression
  17. Schools will be supported to identify mental health problems sooner
  18. We will end the cliff-edge of lost support as children and young people with mental health needs reach the age of 18
    Improving the quality of life of people with mental health problems
  19. People with mental health problems will live healthier lives and longer lives
  20. More people with mental health problems will live in homes that support recovery
  21. We will introduce a national liaison and diversion service so that the mental health needs of offenders will be identified sooner and appropriate support provided
  22. Anyone with a mental health problem who is a victim of crime will be offered enhanced support
  23. We will support employers to help more people with mental health problems to remain in or move into work
  24. We will develop new approaches to help people with mental health problems who are unemployed to move into work and seek to support them during periods when they are unable to work
  25. We will stamp out discrimination around mental health

The image below shows these priorities as a mindmap. Click to see a larger version and download below.

PNG version of the mindmap

Download the Closing the Gap priorities mindmap