20 July 2016

UCLPartners welcomes mental health plan that will benefit thousands

Mental health problems represent the largest single cause of disability in the UK, costing the economy an estimated at £105 billion a year. The important task of improving mental health care has come in to focus this week with the publication of NHS England’s Implementation Plan for the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health and an announcement from the Big Lottery Fund that an additional £55million of funding will be given to Headstart mental health prevention projects.

Since 2015, UCLPartners have been focussed on improving mental health care, supporting our partners to deliver theFive Year Forward View for Mental Health. We strongly welcome both the implementation plan and the funding announcement, which will enable us to continue supporting our partners to improve the lives of thousands of children and adults with mental health problems.

Released on Tuesday 19 July, the Implementation Plan for the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, details how services will be improved as a result of a major transformation programme for mental health care. Those with conditions such as psychosis, depression and anxiety are set to be amongst the first to benefit from the improved services laid out in the plan.

The report details how new funding, pledged in response to the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, rising to £1 billion a year by 2020/21 in addition to the cumulative £1.4 billion already committed for children, young people and perinatal care, will be made available for CCGs year on year. It also shows how the workforce requirements will be delivered in each priority area and outlines how data, payment and other system levers will support transparency. Read the full plan here.

To date UCLPartners work has had a particular focus on children and young people’s mental health. Work we’ve supported to improve mental health includes:

Islington Mental Health and Resilience in Schools – A quality improvement project, led by Islington Council, that works across schools to improve support for pupil’s emotional resilience.  To date, this programme has:

  • Audited current activity in schools against an evidenced framework
  • Supported schools to implement quality improvement initiatives
  • Developed of a toolkit to support other schools through the process.

UCLPartners have seconded a member of staff to Islington Council to lead this project.

More than Mentors Peer mentoring- More than Mentors is a peer mentoring intervention which aims to promote emotional resilience in adolescents.  Its development was facilitated by UCLPartners with a small grant from a joint Newham CCG and UCLPartners Programme. This mentoring programme has been developed by East London mental health psychologists, psychiatrists and youth practitioners with support from young people, academics and advice from local and regional voluntary sector colleagues, schools and commissioners.

A pilot of this mentoring model revealed an increase in the resilience of mentees taking part.

UCLPartners has subsequently supported a consortium led by Community Links in East London who have secured a three-year funding grant from the Department of Health to take this important work forward.

Headstart Newham – Delivered by the London Borough of Newham and partners, this programme aims to ensure young people aged between 10 and 16 at risk of developing mental health problems are provided with effective support from their school, teachers, parents and peers. UCLPartners have facilitated the development of this programme through the secondment of Simon Munk, Programme Manager for Children and Young People’s Mental Health.

A range of initiatives developed by the programme have been successfully piloted in 16 schools and youth zones across Newham thanks to an initial £840,000 of Big Lottery Funding.

The newly announced Big Lottery funding boost will provide £10 million to the London Borough of Newham, enabling the Headstart Newham project to be rolled out across 16 of the borough’s secondary schools as well as 40 primary schools, youth zones and other community venues.

The Child Health Intelligence Platform (CHIP) – This information based tool, developed by UCLPartners in collaboration with Concentra, will enable local boroughs and CCGs to assess their progress in improving health services (including mental health) for children and young people by allowing them to collate and analyse data on a local, regional, and national scale. As part of a NWL Consortium contract, UCLPartners has been contracted by the Anna Freud Centre to complete a needs assessment of mental health in eight boroughs in North West London using Mental Health Intelligence Platform technology, which CHIP is based on.

CHIP will ultimately inform local boroughs about services that can be implemented to both improve health outcomes and reduce health care expenditure.

Much work still remains to be done to improve outcomes for those with mental ill health but this week’s announcements are a step in the right direction and demonstrate that this important topic remains a clear focus for both the NHS and local authorities.

Speaking about the implementation plan, Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s new National Director for Mental Health said:“This roadmap for implementing the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health will improve access and outcomes, reduce inequality and deliver efficiencies across the local health and care economy.”

Professor Peter Fonagy, Programme Director for the Academic Health Science Network Integrated Mental Health Programme said: “NHS England is on the way to restoring parity for mental health. We have some way to go but the implementation plan for the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health is a very significant step for the individuals and families whose lives are thrown into disarray by mental health problems. It is gratifying that this priority area for UCLPartners is now fully accepted by the NHS as its priority.”