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Policies and Strategies

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Introduction

National mental health policies, strategies, and plans play an essential role in defining a country's vision, priorities, budgetary decisions and course of action for improving and maintaining the health of its people.

Most countries have been using the development of national health policies, strategies, and plans for decades to give direction and coherence to their efforts to improve mental health.

The WHO Atlas gives an overview of the state of Mental Health in most countries of the world including national polices.

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Publications (date ordered)

A Manifesto for Better Health  The Mental Health Policy Group – General Election 2015 The challenge and the opportunity for the next Government is clear. If we take steps to improve our nation’s mental health, we will improve the lives of millions of people across England. More people are becoming more ill and are unable to access support when they most need it. Without a clear commitment to action, we will store up problems for the future, both in terms of our public finances and the lives of future generations. We call on all parties in England to make a positive commitment to value our mental and physical health equally. This manifesto sets out five specific areas where significant improvement is needed.

 Living Well - A Strategic Plan for Mental Health In New South Wales, Australia 2014-2024  This Plan sets out directions for reform of the mental health system in NSW over the next 10 years. These directions build on those extraordinary strengths we find in individuals, families and communities and hope to supplement them, when requested, with services which respect people and offer them support in ways they find helpful and that fit well with their lives. It maps a demanding agenda for change that puts people – not processes – at the heart of its thinking.  It insists on principles of social equity: that at any stage of life, whatever our culture, wherever we live and no matter what other health or social difficulties may complicate our lives, we are equal citizens who should expect to find high quality, timely mental health support in our community when we need it. It demands that we not wait for a crisis. Plenty of strong evidence tells us it is possible to promote good mental health in our community and prevent much mental illness, particularly in young people. And if the signs of distress are already apparent, the course of illness can be improved if we get in early to offer support before people’s lives are badly affected. It asks that the NSW Government recommit to completing the process of reform begun with the Inquiry into Health Services for the Psychiatrically Ill and Developmentally Disabled (Richmond Report) in the 1980s by taking two important steps. We must close the remaining stand-alone psychiatric institutions and shift the focus of mental health care from hospitals to the community. The broad case for reform, told from the perspective of people whom it affects, is presented in the NSW Mental Health Commission’s Living Well: Putting People at the Centre of Mental Health Reform in NSW: A report, which is a companion report to this Plan, Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014 – 2024 and should be read in tandem with it. Aboriginal ideas of community, family and social and emotional wellbeing resonate powerfully as we prepare for a new generation of mental health reform. Aboriginal communities celebrate the connections among people and the strength and resilience that grow in communities when those connections are.

World Health Organisation - Mental Health Atlas 2011  Project Atlas was launched by the WHO in 2000 in an attempt to map mental health resources in the world. This information was updated in 2005. The 2011 version of the Atlas represents the latest global picture of resources available to prevent and treat neuropsychiatric disorders, provide rehabilitation, and protect human rights.

No Health without Mental Health - A cross-government mental health outcomes strategy for people of all ages 2011, Department of Health, UK, Mental health is everyone’s business – individuals, families, employers, educators and communities all need to play their part. Good mental health and resilience are fundamental to our physical health, our relationships, our education, our training, our work and to achieving our potential.  This mental health outcomes strategy looks to communities, as well as the state, to promote independence and choice, reflecting the recent vision for adult social care. It sets out how the Government, working with all sectors of the community and taking a life course approach, will:

  • improve the mental health and wellbeing of the population and keep people well; and
  • improve outcomes for people with mental health problems through high-quality services that are equally accessible to all.

Closing the Gap: Priorities for essential change in mental health  Department of Health, UK, 2011  In 2011, the government published its mental health strategy, No health without mental health. This set out our long-term ambitions for the transformation of mental health care – and more importantly, for a broad change in the way people with mental health problems are supported in society as a whole. The strategy was built around six unambiguous objectives:

  • More people will have good mental health
  • More people with mental health problems will recover
  • More people with mental health problems will have good physical health
  • More people will have a positive experience of care and support
  • Fewer people will suffer avoidable harm
  • Fewer people will experience stigma and discrimination.

This document supports all of those objectives – just as it supports the mental health strategy implementation framework and suicide prevention strategy, published in 2012. But the principles and many of the programmes described in those documents are about long-term change, at the population level. The actions in the implementation framework, many of which are underway, focus on how local partners can work to achieve the long-term objectives, and how national organisations can support and enable them. They are about organisational change, working together, using the resources available.

Together for mental health - a strategy for mental health and wellbeing in Wales 2012 A 10-year strategy for improving the lives of people using mental health services, their carers and their families.

Mental Health (Wales) Measure 2010 This law places new legal duties on local health boards and local authorities about the assessment and treatment of mental health problems.

LONG-TERM MENTAL HEALTH CARE FOR PEOPLE WITH SEVERE MENTAL DISORDERS Jose Miguel Caldas de Almeida and Helen Killaspy, with contributions from Angelo Fioritti (Italy), Filipe Costa (Sweden), Jean Luc Roelandt (France), Marcelino Lopez (Spain) and Jan Pfeiffer (Czech Republic), European Union 2011 Despite the strong arguments and all these efforts, much more has still to be done if we want to provide accessible, effective and high quality longer-term mental health care to all people with severe mental disorders in Europe. The stark reality is that in many countries, often those that are least economically developed, people with these disorders continue to reside in large psychiatric hospitals or social care institutions with poor living conditions, inadequate clinical assistance and frequent human rights violations (Muijen, 2008). In some countries, although progress has been made in the transition from psychiatric hospitals to community care, the resources allocated to the new services are very limited and responses to psychosocial needs are very scarce. We should also add that, even in countries where deinstitutionalisation is well advanced, there are concerns about an increasing “reinstitutionalisation” (in hospitals and communitybased nursing and residential care homes) of people with longer-term and more complex mental health needs and those with a “forensic” history (Priebe et al, 2005). In the UK this is called the “OATs” (out of area treatments) issue, where concerns have been raised about the quality of care in some facilities, the social dislocation caused by being placed many miles from family and the local, responsible care system funding the placement, and poorly co-ordinated systems for reviewing individuals‟ ongoing needs (Ryan et al., 2004; 2007).

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