Call for evidence for new 10-year plan to improve mental health


The Department of Health and Social Care has issued a 12-week call for evidence to seek views on what can be improved within the current mental health service and to build understanding of the causes of mental ill-health.

The general public, people of all ages with lived experience of mental health conditions and those who support people with mental ill-health – including healthcare workers and volunteers - are urged to respond to help inform a new 10-year mental health plan and a refreshed national suicide prevention plan. Views are sought over what can be improved within the current service, particularly in the light of the pandemic which has led to record levels of people seeking treatment.

The NHS Long Term Plan made a commitment to continue expanding and transforming mental health services. However, around one in five adults in Britain experienced some form of depression in the first three months of 2021 – that’s more than double pre-pandemic figures. The government made £500 million available to support the groups most impacted, including children and young people and those with severe mental illness through the mental health recovery action plan.

This call for evidence will now build on this progress and support the development of a plan which aims to prevent and mitigate the impacts of risk factors on mental health and suicide, particularly for groups who experience disparities.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid says: “The pandemic put unprecedented pressure on people across the country. While we continue to expand and transform our mental health services under the NHS Long Term Plan to meet rising demand, we know we need to go further.

“Too many people, particularly our children and young people, do not have the tools and support they need to look after their wellbeing or prevent mental health problems from escalating.

“We all have a role to play in resetting the way we approach mental health and our new 10-year plan will set an ambitious agenda for where we want the mental health of the nation to be a decade from now.”

The sooner someone receives support when they are struggling with their mental health, the more likely it is they will recover. The call for evidence seeks views on how the 10-year plan can complement and extend the work of the NHS Long Term Plan to better address how local services can work together, to prevent those at risk from falling into mental ill-health through earlier, targeted help.

The NHS plays an important role in identifying, diagnosing, treating, and supporting people with mental health conditions, and there are also a range of public, private and community services ideally placed to identify people who may be struggling that can offer support or signpost to NHS services. This may include education settings, housing associations, social care, youth centres, workplaces and job centres.

The call for evidence will close on July 5 and seeks to build consensus on the priority actions needed to reduce the number of people who go on to develop mental health conditions, especially for children and young people and communities at greatest risk. 

It is actively seeking views on several key questions which will be addressed in the plan including:

• How can we all promote positive mental wellbeing?

• How can we all prevent the onset of mental ill-health?

• How can we all intervene earlier when people need support with their mental health?

• How can we improve the quality and effectiveness of treatment for mental health conditions?

• How can we all support people living with mental health conditions to live well?

• How can we all improve support for people in crisis?

These questions have been developed in partnership with stakeholders and people with lived experience of mental ill-health. More detail on each of the questions can be found in a discussion paper also published today alongside the call for evidence.

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