New mental health institute to be outlined

The department of health will issue plans for consultation on
the role, structure and function of the National Institute for
Mental Health in England (NIMHE), writes Jonathan

The establishment of 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.

Louis Appleby, national director of mental health, who heads up
NIMHE, told Community Care said there were two arms to the
institute’s work: research and service development work
(including training).

On the research arm, Appleby said there would be a mental health
research network, with the “purpose of mounting bigger and better
studies”. The network would comprise a collaborative partnership of
research institutions and a national network of clinical sites in
local services.

“When research is done, it is often too small or too localised,”
he added, with people complaining that one area’s findings
cannot be applied to other areas. “But if you choose to do research
in the right places, then you can say the research that comes
through is applicable nationally.”

By contrast, the service development network will link together
regional development centres that already exist in some parts of
the country, while extending and co-ordinating their numbers
throughout the country.

“For services on the ground, a frontline worker or user ought to
be able to find out what the latest services in (a certain) area
are and also be put in touch with existing services,” said

NIMHE’s core unit was already in place, he added, with the
mental health network, and the development centres due to be
established progressively from spring 2002.




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