Delivering on Mental Health and Wellbeing: A Call for Action

Delivering on Mental Health and Wellbeing: A Call for Action
posted 17 May 2016

The moral, social and economic case for change is here: The social and financial consequences resulting from mental health issues are becoming more evident in our society

Paul Corrigan at a recent roundtable hosted by the Social Care Institute for Excellence, Mind and PPL.

Research by the King’s Fund[1] has estimated that the number of people in England who experience a mental health problem will increase by 14.2 per cent from 8.65 million in 2007 to 9.88 million in 2026.

Given Government commitments to improve identification and early intervention of mental health problems[2] it is likely that increasing numbers of people who aren’t currently accessing mental health services will feel supported and empowered to do so in the future.  This may decrease the economic burden overall, but will have an impact on treatment costs, access and quality of front line service provision.

On the 13th of April 2016, in partnership with MIND and SCIE, PPL co-hosted a roundtable event chaired by Professor Paul Corrigan. The roundtable brought together a wide range of policy makers, providers, commissioners and members of the public to explore how we can effectively meet the challenges of increasing need, by transforming care to deliver on mental health and wellbeing. 

Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind and Chair of the Mental Health Task Force, introduced the day by addressing the transformation challenge and highlighted: “we are now at a place where society is not prepared to leave mental health behind”. So, what is needed to transform the system? The discussion focused on three key issues: co-production, prevention and building resilience for our children and young people.

1.    Getting it right together to improve mental health and wellbeing: practical steps to foster co-production

Alison Faulkner, Independent Consultant and Survivor Researcher, led the section on co-production. Discussions highlighted that we are making progress on better mental health services, but there is still a long way to go:

  • A clear approach and method to co-production needs to be defined, working with those we are aiming to co-produce with
  • Training is required to ensure all those involved, both service users and professionals, have the right skills and support to co-produce effectively

2.     Strengthening prevention: practical steps to prevent poor mental health

Toni Camp, Senior Joint Mental Health Commissioner for Hounslow CCG and Council, kicked off the discussion around strengthening prevention sharing her experiences. Participants agreed:

  • A focus on mental health needs to be embedded in all commissioned services and policy
  • Leadership needs to focus on driving openness and accountability across organisations
  • Effective evaluation of services needs to be driven from both a commissioner and a provider perspective

3.     Resilience and wellbeing for our children and young people: Practical steps to building resilience

PPL are currently working with Guys and St Thomas’ Charity on an exploratory piece of research around building resilience in young people. [CS1] Ollie Smith, Director of Strategy & Innovation, for the Charity introduced the discussion around this, the key points of which were:

  • Investment should focus on supporting, training and building capacity within the current workforce, rather than piecemeal commissioning of add on services
  • Strategic planning is required to agree the right balance between investment in prevention and intervention
  •  Educate children early to challenge the stigma associated with mental health

A Call to Action

There is a lot of good practice and evidence of what works, yet, addressing the issues at scale and pace is not easy and requires concerted efforts from policy makers, commissioners, providers, employers, citizens and carers.  There are five key action points, which which, taken together, provide opportunities for accelerating change across the system for better mental health and wellbeing:

1.     Build a holistic definition of health which encompasses both physical and mental health

2.     Take a practical focus to change and work on the principle of evolution rather than pure innovation, changing  small things quickly to create areas that are “change-ready” and build momentum

3.     Enable and empower citizens and frontline professionals to take a leading role in organisational and system change recognising that the key is people change not organisational change

4.     Focus services around the needs of individuals and integrate services around people

5.     Recognise the power of peer support and develop genuine support networks and “safe spaces” between peers on the same journey, across organisational and geographical divides

You can access the outputs of the event and see more from the day by visiting the Storify[CS2]and stay connected on twitter #bettermentalhealthnow.

You can also download the roundtable outputs on the PPL by clicking the download button below


[1] King’s Fund, Paying the Price: The cost of mental health care in England to 2026 (2008).

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/213761/dh_124058.pdf


 [CS1]Hyperlink to previous blog: http://pplconsulting.co.uk/news/2016/04/08/building-resilience-and-wellbeing-in-young-peoples-mental-health

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