Plans were issued by the Department of Health
for consultation on the role, structure and function of the
National Institute for Mental Health in England last week.
NIMHE presents an opportunity to “reshape
services and practice in line with the evidence base” by bringing
together the research, development and dissemination functions of
mental health services, according to the DoH.
The national director of mental health, Louis
Appleby, who heads NIMHE, said there were two parts to the
institute’s work: research and service development, including
He added that there would be a mental health
research network, with the “purpose of mounting bigger and better
studies”. The network would comprise a partnership of research
institutions and a national network of clinical sites in local
In contrast, the service development network
would link together regional development centres that already
exist, while extending and co-ordinating their numbers throughout
“For services on the ground, a front-line
worker or user ought to be able to find out the latest services in
an area and also be put in touch with existing services,” said
He said NIMHE’s core unit was already in
place, and that the mental health network and development centres
were to be established progressively from spring 2002.