With a strong focus on prevention, the Mental Health Foundation commends “pivotal” Mental Health Taskforce Report

15 February 2016

NHS England has today published the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, a report by the Mental Health Taskforce. Jenny Edwards CBE, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation says:

“The publication of The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health by NHS England is a pivotal moment in the fight for a mentally healthier nation.  The Mental Health Foundation has been calling for a greater focus on prevention and we are delighted that this is clearly reflected in the report. Prevention was the key priority to come out of the public engagement consultation that fed into the report. We specifically welcome the creation of a Prevention Concordat to drive forward change, and the increased emphasis on strategic leadership by people with lived experience of mental health problems.   

“We unequivocally endorse the Taskforce report when it states that “prevention matters – it’s the only way that change can be achieved”. Beyond the economic cost of £105 billion a year, poor mental health is destroying lives. The report acknowledges that we need to do far more to ensure good mental health for all and this means stepping in at the first opportunity. At present, too little is done to prevent mental ill health both with the population at large and with at risk groups. Providing the right range of support, including prevention, has enabled us to become a physically healthier nation.  This must now be replicated in mental health. The report, if acted on, provides a once in a generation opportunity to achieve this.

“The Mental Health Foundation looks forward to working with other charities and the leading public bodies, including the NHS and Public Health England, to deliver real change. For the sake of people now and those, who without effective prevention, will develop mental health problems in the future we need to move support upstream. Today represents a turning point in thinking about mental health, we recognise it is something we all have. With the support of the right Government policies we will have the best chance of keeping ourselves mentally well.”

In November 2015 the Foundation set out the evidence base for a focus on prevention in a landscape paper.  

Key recommendations in the Mental Health Taskforce report include:

  • 30,000 more women per year to receive perinatal mental health support
  • 70,000 more children and young people to receive mental health care when they need it
  • the creation of a national Prevention Concordat programme that will enable all Health and Wellbeing Boards to support local needs and produce mental health Prevention Plans
  • the appointment of an equalities champion to tackle mental health inequalities across the health system and through cross-government action
  • the prioritisation of mental health support for people with long term physical health conditions
  • the publication a 10 year strategy for mental health research by 2017 and to increase funding
  • the championing of digital innovations to improve access and choice to mental health support
  • an emphasis on the mental health and wellbeing of staff across the NHS and all those working with people with mental health problems.

For further information or to arrange an interview with Jenny Edwards CBE contact James Harris, Head of Media and Communications at the Mental Health Foundation on 020 7479 7739 / 07766574447 or via jharris@mentalthealth.org.uk