Centre for Mental Health

This page shows the latest items from the Centre for Mental Health’s policy watch news service.


    Children & Young People’s Mental Health Coalition finds that children and young people’s mental health neglected by local authorities

    4 December 2013, 9:00 am

    Today the Children & Young People’s Mental Health Coalition reveals a concerning new finding that 2 in 3 joint strategic needs assessments (JSNAs) do not specifically address children and young people’s mental health. Furthermore, data most commonly used to estimate the prevalence of mental health need is almost a decade old.

    These are the findings of Overlooked and Forgotten, the Coalition’s review published today, of how children and young people’s mental health is being prioritised in the current commissioning landscape . The report offers support and recommendations to health and wellbeing boards on how they can prioritise and address children and young people’s mental health.

    Adult mental health problems often have their roots in childhood ; it is therefore vital to invest in services early on in the life cycle to prevent mental health problems developing or worsening. As well as the social benefit, early intervention is cost-effective, saving society the cost of picking up more entrenched problems at a later stage.


    We Need to Talk coalition call for faster and better access to talking treatment

    28 November 2013, 9:00 am

    Care and support minister Norman Lamb has supported a call by the We Need To Talk coalition for faster access to talking therapies.

    The report, launched by the We Need to Talk coalition today, shows that one in ten (12%) people with mental health problems are stuck on waiting lists for over a year before receiving talking treatments and over half (54%) wait over three months.

    The survey (2) of over 1,600 people who have tried to access talking therapies such as counselling and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy on the NHS in England over the last two years also shows how some people are paying for private therapy to get the help they desperately need. One in ten (11%) said that they had faced costs for private treatment because the therapy they needed was not available on the NHS.

    The choice of treatment on offer was also found to be limited even though CBT, the most commonly prescribed talking treatment, doesn’t work for everyone. The coalition found that three in five people (58%) weren’t offered a choice in the type of therapy they received.

    Since 2007, the government’s increased investment in the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme has helped millions of people to access psychological therapies on the NHS who otherwise wouldn’t have had this support. However, delays in accessing support and a lack of choice is having a devastating effect on people’s lives and recovery.

    The We Need To Talk coalition is calling for the NHS in England to offer a full range of evidence-based psychological therapies to all who need them within 28 days of requesting a referral.

    This also means that the issues of many marginalized groups may not be addressed. People from Black and minority ethnic (BME) communities, those with long-term mental health problems such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, older people and children and young people face specific challenges of their own. The coalition held focus groups with people from BME ethnic heritage and over half of those people said that language barriers was a specific issue that they faced.

    We need to talk wants the government and NHS England to invest more in psychological therapies to meet demand and urgently introduce maximum waiting time standards to ensure timely access to treatment. Locally, clinical commissioning groups must ensure they commission a range of psychological therapies to meet the needs of diverse local communities.

    Care and support minister Norman Lamb said: “We want people to get access to treatment quickly. Due to its initial success, demand has increased and this has led to increased waiting times in some parts of the country. We have asked NHS England – the body which oversees the NHS – to introduce for the first time new waiting time and access standards for mental health services from 2015.”


    The Centre welcomes Burnham’s comments on improving access and achieving parity of esteem

    31 October 2013, 9:00 am

    The Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham, today made a speech at a conference on mental health and wellbeing in Shrewsbury, where he outlined the idea of enshrining the right to counselling for mental health problems in the NHS Constitution.

    The Centre for Mental Health welcomes Andy Burnham’s speech and his focus on the parity of esteem between physical and mental health.

    The Centre’s Chief Executive Sean Duggan said: “The lack of parity in access and waiting times for mental health treatment means that mental health continues to be one of our society’s biggest inequalities. Andy Burnham’s speech today brings the issue of waiting times for mental health care rightly to the fore.

    “We also welcome Burnham’s strong response to the 2012-2013 national survey of investment in adult mental health services not being commissioned, which is a key measure of our investment in services as well as of the parity of esteem, and hope that the Department of Health is therefore able to press ahead with developing improved ways to measure NHS spending.

    Our recent work with the Royal College of Psychiatrists states that under-investment in mental health services and a lack of integration with physical health services have created a bottleneck in health care improvement and calls for the secretary of state to give a clear mandate to the NHS to bridge the resource gap between mental and physical health care.”


    Call for evidence on perinatal mental health problems

    16 October 2013, 9:00 am

    PSSRU/LSE and Centre for Mental Health are conducting a study on the economic consequences of maternal mental health problems during the perinatal period.

    In preparation for the study, we call for information on evidence in this area. In particular, we look for national and international studies which measure the outcomes of individuals exposed to perinatal mental health problems; this includes the outcomes for mothers, their children and partners.

    We also look for evidence on the (cost-) effectiveness of interventions or other information on interventions (for example costs of running them). The information may be drawn from studies which are being carried out at the moment or from completed studies.

    The full call for evidence and details of the project are here.

    To pass on information about evidence, please email Emily Slater, Emily@app-network.org, by 14th November 2013.


    Perinatal mental health problems go untreated and undiscussed, say mothers and professionals

    14 October 2013, 9:00 am

    Depression and anxiety among pregnant women and new mums is going under-treated due to lack of disclosure and poor continuity of care, according to new research with 2000 health professionals and 1500 women by organisations including the Royal College of Midwives and the Institute of Health Visiting.

    In a shocking indication of the scale of unmet need, the report found that only 18% of patients fully disclosed their mental health concerns to their midwife or health visitor. The end result was that 40% of women with a perinatal mental health problem received no formal treatment or support at all.


    Disability Rights UK finds government’s work programmes to help the disabled into employment are failing

    9 October 2013, 9:00 am

    A major new report from Disability Rights UK has highlighted the weaknesses of the government’s major employment programmes in supporting disabled people to get and keep paid work.

    The report, Taking Control of Employment Support, looked at the experiences of disabled people of the Work Programme and Work Choice. It found that neither scheme was achieving employment outcomes for any more than a small minority of disabled people. And people with mental health conditions were getting especially poor outcomes.

    AsBriefing 47: Barriers to employment notes, the IPS approach is by far the most effective means of supporting the one million or so people who use mental health services into paid work. And while a growing proportion of NHS trusts are now offering an IPS services to some or all of their users, too many people continue to be denied the opportunity to get work when they want it.

    Click here for more information on Taking Control of Employment Support.


    Mental health services must act to avoid sleepwalking into the future

    23 September 2013, 9:00 am

    The Mental Health Foundation has released a new report into the future of mental health services. ‘Starting today’ warns that mental health services may be unable to cope with the demand in 20-30 years’ time. At the current prevalence rates, 2 million more adults and 100,000 more children will need treatment in 2030.

    The costs of mental health problems are estimated at over £100 billion a year.


    Care Quality Commission publishes annual survey of community mental health services

    18 September 2013, 9:00 am

    The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published the 2013 annual survey of community mental health services. A survey of 13,000 people using community services outside of inpatient care across 58 trusts in England.

    The survey picked out areas for improvement, including most prominently the continuing need for personalisation of care – involving patients in the plan for their care. The CQC has said that mental health services will be one of its focuses with its inspectors work being informed by the survey results.

    The survey found that 67% rated their overall experience as 7 out of 10 or better. It also found that for those on CPA, 46% said that they ‘definitely’ understood their care plan, which is down from 48% in 2012. For those not on CPA only 42% said that they didn’t have a care plan and of those that did only 26% said that they ‘definitely’ understood it, which remains the same as in 2012.

    You can read the national summary of the survey by clicking here.


    Forces in Mind report on transition from military to civilian life

    20 August 2013, 9:00 am

    The Forces in Mind Trust launch ‘Transition Mapping Study’ report looking at how the transition process from military to civilian life currently works and how it is viewed by stakeholders and recent service leavers.

    The report includes the calculated costs to the UK for different aspect of poor military transition, including mental health issues at £26 million and alcohol misuse at £35 million.

    The report also contains over 26 recommendations on how to reduce the number of these poor transitions, including:

    • Differences between military and civilian life are vastly underestimated and the cultural differences can come as a surprise;
    • The extent to which a Service leaver’s family is able to help is often reflected in transition success, but is rarely considered;
    • Financial demands of civilian life can come as a shock, and a Service leaver’s individual life skills overall can be under-developed;
    • Experiences of transition vary greatly, depending on personal attitude to transition as well as social context;
    • The range of help for Service leavers can be difficult to understand and navigate.


    Building Resilient Communities report

    20 August 2013, 9:00 am

    This report from Mind and Mental Health Foundation focuses on resilience; setting out the types of services, resources and infrastructure that need to be in place locally to support resilient communities, helping people to ‘feel good and function well’.

    The report brings together the evidence base and people’s experiences about what makes resilient people and communities, and calls on every council to prioritise mental health within their public health strategy.