New Horizons: A shared
Vision for Mental
What’s this about?
The Department of Health has released New Horizons: A shared vision for mental health, its 10-year strategy for mental health in England. Its two key aims are to:
improve the mental health and well-being of the population;
improve the quality and accessibility of services for people with poor mental health.
By achieving these aims, the government hopes to avoid greater demand on services in the future. The Strategy’s vision states that by 2020:
“most adults will understand the importance of mental well-being to their full and productive functioning in society”;
“physical health and mental well-being will be seen as equal priorities, and the links between them recognised as key to maintaining physical and mental health”;
“people with mental health problems…will receive personalised care packages designed to meet their individual needs”;
“the stigma attached to mental health will have declined dramatically”;
“families and carers will be welcomed as partners by services and will be listened to and supported by professionals.”i
More information about New Horizons’ vision is available in our briefing on the consultation paper, available on www.carers.org and www.carers.org/professionals.
The Strategy identifies 61 separate actions across 10 Government departments, including:
a review of the workforce requirements to take this agenda forward in 2010;
from Spring 2010, a series of short briefings including examples of best practice targeted at various audiences, for example, at local strategic partnerships and Primary Care Trusts (PCTs);
the development of recovery approaches with better measures of progress;
improving access to mental health services for people in the criminal justice system.
Key issues for carers
We welcome the New Horizons strategy and its aims. However, there is little response in the final strategy to our calls for greater support and recognition for carers of people with mental health problems. Instead, the New Horizon strategy acknowledges that ‘there is a strong strand of opinion calling for more support for families, friends and carers of people with mental health problems’ (p.16). It repeats messages from the consultation document emphasising that carers:
“are a vital resource and should be seen as equal partners with the mental health care team. They need access to all the information necessary to fulfil this important role. Carers themselves experience high rates of mental health problems and may need support to maintain their own mental health and to live fulfilling lives outside their caring role.” (p.59)
New Horizons does highlight the need for ongoing involvement with carers, both within assessment of need (p.63), and in developing new services (p.71, 73). We welcome these messages, but feel that more substantive approaches will be needed to ensure that mental health carers benefit from the implementation of New Horizons.
In general, the Strategy could be accused of lacking detail. It pulls together a large number of existing government workstreams but does not come with new funding for initiatives. Instead, changes are to come from existing funding, frameworks and services.ii Likewise, the Strategy does not set new concrete targets or milestones.
What is The Trust doing?
We are supportive of New Horizons’ vision, and the move towards prevention, improving mental health at a whole-population level and joint commissioning. We are calling for more tangible changes for carers, carers’ services and the culture of mental health services.
Over 2010, we aim to:
work closely with the National Mental Health Development Unit to offer our support and input into implementing this strategy;
feed into the New Horizons Ministerial Advisory Group for inequalities and mental health;
work with the Care Quality Commission on their mental health workplan, to ensure monitoring of services develops in line with New Horizons and the needs of carers.
We will keep Carers’ Centres and our other partners updated on our work, and welcome suggestions and input on New Horizons and our responses at any time.
References and resources
All page references refer to the New Horizons strategy document unless otherwise stated.iii
The New Horizons strategy and supporting documents: www.dh.gov.uk/newhorizons.
Our five key facts and key asks (see http://www.carers.org/articles/key-facts-and-asks-for-mental-health-carers,2776,CA.html) outline some specific issues faced by mental health carers, as well as some general service developments that would benefit them.
Disclaimer: Remember that legislation and guidance changes and that advice obtained from this document should be used as guidance only. Before using any of the information in this guidance document, you must read, in full, the relevant legislation and any other source documents. Advice in this document does not give a full statement of the law and is not a substitute for professional advice. The Princess Royal Trust for Carers cannot accept any responsibility for loss or liability occasioned as a result of any person acting, or refraining from acting, on information contained in this guidance document. ontact details for policy issues: Drew Lindon, Policy and Development Manager (Mental Health and Substance Misuse) dlindoncarers.org; 07791 779664
i New Horizons: Towards a shared vision for mental health
, p.5-6, July 2009, Department of Health
, available at http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Consultations/Liveconsultations/DH_103144
ii New Horizons: Towards a shared vision for mental health, p.99, July 2009, Department of Health, available at http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Consultations/Liveconsultations/DH_103144
iii New Horizons: A shared vision for mental health, December 2010, Department of Health, available at http://www.dh.gov.uk/newhorizons
Author: Drew Lindon Page 31/7/09