In January 2019, the NHS published their Long Term Plan – a plan which outlines how the service will develop over the next 10 years. The plan is a published response to changing needs – with a population that is increasing in size, as well as in age, and some significant challenges that will also need to be addressed (e.g., funding, staffing, inequalities). The plan outlines seven chapters which aim to address such challenges, and includes the development of a new service model, further funding (e.g., to upgrade technology), and tackling workforce pressures, amongst others. Chapter 3 outlines how care quality and outcomes can improve, and includes further support for child and young people’s mental health services, and adult mental health services – of relevance to the Mental Health in Childhood and Education Hub.
Mental health services for children and young people
- Over the next five years, access to mental health services in the community will expand, so that an additional 345,000 children and young people between the ages of 0-25 will be supported (e.g., via Mental Health Support Teams based in schools or colleges)
- Eating disorder services will receive additional investment – this will enable services to maintain the treatment standard (e.g., urgent cases receive treatment within one week, and four weeks for non-urgent cases).
- Age-appropriate crisis services will be expanded, and a single point of access through NHS 111 will be explored.
- Support for mental health will be available within schools and colleges – providing additional capacity for early intervention.
- The transition to adulthood for young people aged between 18 and 25 will be supported – this may involve extending service models to offer support for those aged 0 – 25 years, and integrating a number of sectors (e.g., social care, education).
Mental Health services for adults
- Access to Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services will be expanded – focusing on adults and older adults with a long term condition.
- Standards for patients requiring community mental health treatment will be delivered across in NHS in the next 10 years.
- Mental health crisis services will be expanded – a 24/7 community-based response will be available in England by 2020/21 (for adults and older adults). Alternative forms of support will also be explored (e.g., safe havens).
- A single point of access via NHS 111 will be developed.
- Waiting time targets will take effect from 2020 for access to emergency mental health services.
- Ambulance staff will be trained to support individuals in a mental health crisis.
- Suicide prevention and reduction is a priority over the next 10 years – this includes the development of a Mental Health Safety Improvement Programme.
Further information about the Long Term Plan can be viewed here.
Blog post written by Dr Rachel Moss (Twitter: @DrRMoss), Research Associated on the PGR Wellbeing project at the University of Portsmouth (School of Education and Sociology).