Mental Health Foundation welcomes new NHS England Mental Health Taskforce

26 March 2015

Jenny Edwards CBE, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation has welcomed the announcement of the NHS England Mental Health Taskforce - established to develop a new national plan for mental health to 2020. 

With a consensus on the need to better support people who develop, or who are at risk of developing, mental health problems, the focus now needs to be on implementing change. She argues that the role of stakeholders and those with lived experience of mental health problems is not just to input their expertise to the work of the Taskforce, but to also hold it to account in terms of delivering a framework for change.

She said:

“There is a consensus amongst the public, decision-makers and stakeholder groups about the need to revolutionise the way that we approach mental health. Maintaining good mental health is an issue that affects us all. Research published only recently by the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) has found that the long-term impact of poor mental health in childhood is an estimated loss of £550 billion in earnings to the UK. More critical is the direct damage to people's lives.

“This new Taskforce is welcome, now good intentions must be turned into action on the ground. This initiative needs to mobilise the expertise of wider stakeholders and people with lived experience of mental health problems to develop a framework for action and accountability. This should result in much needed improvements to services, but also reduce demand for those services in the first place through effective prevention.

“The Mental Health Foundation looks forward to contributing our own expertise, and that of the networks we work with around maternal and perinatal mental health, children and young people and later life, to the work of the Taskforce.  Stakeholders, most critically people with lived experience of mental health problems, will expect to hold it to account for delivering a true paradigm shift in this rare opportunity to help reframe health services.

“Equality must also be a central consideration in the Taskforce's work so that the needs and perspectives of all social and demographic groups, especially those with high prevalence of mental health problems, are taken into account in the changes that result, with rapid and measurable progress towards narrowing mental health inequalities and a mental health equity assessment of policies and proposals."