National Director for Mental Health in England calls for new approach to community care

NHS Trusts must develop new and innovative ways of helping people who have experienced mental health problems to rebuild their lives, according to a new report by Professor Louis Appleby of the Department of Health in England.

He said trusts should look to work more closely with employment and housing agencies and cut waiting lists for talking therapies in England.
Professor Appleby said his report was about the next phase of reform of mental health care.

“We’ve had several years of strengthening what community services do, and the report is about breaking down the barriers in the next stage of reforms,” said Professor Appleby.

“I’m talking about barriers that get in the way of better patients’ experience of care.

“At the moment, for example, there is a barrier between what health services traditionally do, which is clinical care, improving people’s illnesses, abolishing their symptoms.

“But what patients often tell us they want is help with quality of life. They want opportunities for training, for jobs, and for decent housing, and we have to take on that responsibility.”

The report said mental health trusts should look at ways they could link up with agencies responsible for housing and employment.

It also called for community teams to get involved in giving people more advice on how to reduce alcohol and drug use and look after their physical health.

Professor Appleby called for a renewed effort to reduce waiting lists for talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy, which sometimes has waits of over 12 months.

* For more information on making training, employment, housing, and talking therapies a part of recovery, click here