Briefing: Mental health under pressure

Mental health services in England have a history of transformation – replacing long-stay institutions with care in the community, diversifying services to focus support on people with specific needs, and extending access to evidence-based mental health treatment to those in primary care. In recent years, a new wave of transformation programmes has emerged that aims to shift provision from a ‘medicalised’ system of delivering care and treatment to one that focuses on the principles of recovery, with services and the workforce redesigned to reflect that focus.

NHS England commissions mental health services at a national level, ensuring the provision of specialised care for the small groups of individuals who require it. Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and local authorities commission local provision for people in the community, who constitute the majority of those with mental health conditions; this also allows for the provision of support beyond that of health services.

The last population survey of mental health found that 17.6 per cent of the English population aged between 16 and 64 meet the criteria for one or more common mental health disorders, while 0.4 per cent experienced a psychotic disorder (McManus et al 2009). In 2014/15 1,835,996 people were in contact with mental health services – an increase of 4.9 per cent from 2013/14 (Health and Social Care Information Centre 2015b). Approximately 1 adult in 28 was in contact with secondary mental health services.

See the report at The King’s Fund, November 2015