Our response to NHSE Publication of The Community Mental Health Framework for Adults and Older Adults

30 September 2019

At Rethink Mental Illness we work closely with people severely affected by mental illness and have a clear view of what support people need. We know that people experiencing significant challenges to their mental health are likely to find that it impacts on every aspect of their lives, facing problems which cannot be improved by medication or talking therapies alone.

The Community Mental Health Framework for Adults and Older Adults, published this weekend (September 29), sets out a transformative vision for how the wider community should play a vital role in care and support for people severely affected by mental illness.

We welcome the renewed focus of the NHS Long Term Plan to support people diagnosed with long term severe mental illnesses to live in their communities. This Framework is important because it recognises the wider non-clinical support that people need to make that possible.

We wholeheartedly support the move away from siloed care to integrated support where people can access help and advice in areas such as finance, housing and social care in addition to clinical services. We’re supportive of the place-based approach and look forward to seeing how the 12 pilot sites announced today each craft their own local solution to place community at the heart of their new mental health services. The significant funding behind these pilots should allow each area to foster strong relationships and deliver holistic, rounded care to a group that has for too long been forgotten.

There is huge potential here, but to transform community health services we must see action and investment across the whole system, not just the NHS. Other government departments, social support services and voluntary, community and social enterprises (VCSEs) must recognise that they have a role to play and be given the resource to allow them to work in partnership. There needs to be recognition of the challenges faced by other parts of the system, because this Framework can only work if we have the housing, well-funded social care and support with employment and volunteering opportunities which all have such an important role to play in mental health care.

There is a clear vision here from NHS England which offers the support that people living with mental illness tell us they need. The support of people living with mental illness in our communities needs to go beyond the realm of health care if we are truly to succeed in delivering better outcomes for everyone.

- Mark Winstanley
CEO, Rethink Mental Illness