New Horizons: 10-year mental health strategy launched

Phil Hope

Social workers who have concerns about personalised care for people with mental health problems could benefit from greater training and support, the care services minister has said.

Speaking to Community Care as a consultation on mental health services was launched, Phil Hope said: “I understand there are some professionals who might have concerns about making it work we need to learn from best practice and those social workers who have been successful.”

“It may be that those with concerns need more training and support,” he said, adding: “It has got to be the right thing to do, I am sure. We want to hear from people what the concerns are and what are the ways we can overcome them.”

Take up of personal budgets by people with mental health problems is among the lowest and personalised care is a key theme of New Horizons, a 10-year strategy for mental health services, launched for consultation yesterday.

The document, which succeeds the National Service Framework for Mental Health Services, has twin aims: improving the mental health and well-being of the population and improving the quality and accessibility of services for those with poor mental health.

It also focuses on early intervention and transitions from adolescent to adult mental health services. Hope said: “We know that 50% of lifetime mental illness starts before the age of 14. It is important that children with mental health problems get support in school.”

Among the document’s proposals is the establishment of a Youth Mental Health Service for 14-25 year olds that would offer a range of interventions.

The consultation also makes a number of proposals on improving access to mental health services among older people, including developing inreach services, such as community dentists and arts therapists, for those living in care homes.

Up to half of those living in residential care have clinically severe depression and there are also proposals within the strategy to introduce mental health assessments for those admitted into homes, with regular follow-ups, to identify problems.

Paul Corry, director of public affairs at Rethink, welcomed in particular the focus on early intervention, personalised services, and recovery, but added the strategy would be “pie in the sky” if it wasn’t properly resourced.

The consultation runs from July to October. 


Key themes out for consultation in New Horizons

Personalised care – ensuring care is based on individuals’ needs and wishes

Early intervention – expanding the principle of early intervention to improve long-term outcomes

Strengthening transition – improving the often difficult transition from child and adolescent mental health services to adult services for those with continuing needs

Stigma – strengthening focus on social inclusion and tackling stigma and discrimination

Innovation – seeking out new and dynamic ways to achieve objectives based on research and new technologies

Value for money – delivering cost-effective and innovative services in a period of recession

Multiagency commissioning/collaboration – working to achieve a joint approach between local authorities, the NHS and others

More information

Expert guide to mental health

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