About the Mental Health Network

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The Mental Health Network (MHN) is the voice for NHS funded mental health and learning disability service providers in England. We represent NHS providers from across the statutory, independent and third sectors in working with government, regulators, opinion formers, media and the wider NHS to promote excellence in mental health services and the importance of good mental health.

We help shape and challenge national policy and legislation affecting our members. We make sense of the broader political and policy environment, and provide members with up to date news and analysis. We also work to identify and spread good practice and innovation in the mental health sector.

Joining the Mental Health Network provides members with access to regular policy briefings, reports and news bulletins. We also run a popular events programme throughout the year, providing members with opportunities to hear from senior figures in healthcare and for networking with peers.

Hear from our members

The Mental Health Network is pleased to publish a series of online articles dedicated to profiling our members and their experience of the network. View the 'My Mental Health Network' pages.


Our on-going work:

Mental Health Policy Group

We co-founded the Mental Health Policy Group, a coalition consisting of the MHN, Rethink Mental Illness, Centre for Mental Health, Mental Health Foundation, Mind and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Ahead of the 2017 general election the group our Manifesto for mental health, and have continued to engage with Number 10, government departments and the leadership of arm’s length bodies including NHS England. We were pleased to note the announcement in February’s NHS England Planning Guidance that the mental health investment standard should be applied by CCGs with no exceptions, as well as securing extra funding relating to winter pressures.

Mental Health Economics Collaborative

The network is undertaking a joint project with Centre for Mental Health and The London School of Economics to deliver in-depth economic evaluations of specific mental health interventions. The Mental Health Economics Collaborative (MHEC) will be a commissioning vehicle for evaluations of innovative practice in mental health. It will also provide a forum for providers to amplify the profile and publicity associated with their services. MHN members will be invited to approach the MHEC for part funding of robust evaluations of their services or, where evaluations have already taken place, to offer the findings of these as case studies for the overarching MHEC programme. They will see micro-economic evaluations of their services combine to create strong, evidence-based, macro-economic policy recommendations.


Mental Health Medical Directors’ Forum

The Mental Health Medical Directors’ Forum is a dedicated, independent, network for mental health medical directors from organisations that provide NHS funded mental health services. The forum provides a place for discussion, sharing of experience and practice, peer support and the provision of a stronger and clear voice for mental health medical executive level leaders.

Mental Health Act review

This year the MHN has contributed to the independent review, commissioned by the Government, into improving legislation and practice around the Mental Health Act. In consultation with members, the MHN has supplied evidence to the Review, helping to shape its recommendations. This year the MHN has contributed member views into the independent review of the Mental Health Act, led by Prof Sir Simon Wessely.

Our Chief Executive Sean Duggan sits on the expert advisory group for the review and holds quarterly meetings with Simon Wessely as part of the MHPG. MHN also provided members with opportunities to feed into the review in person to help shape the recommendations, through member meetings with Simon and the review team.


The network works as part of the Cavendish Coalition, with 36 other health and social care organisations, to monitor the implications of Brexit on health and care. The network is also a member of the Brexit Health Alliance which brings together NHS, medical research, industry, patients and public health organisations to safeguard the interests of patients and the healthcare and research they rely on during the Brexit negotiations.


The Network is undertaking work on how digital technology can support the design and development of mental health services by exploring models of good practice around the UK, the USA and Australia. Our events programme, including our 2019 annual conference and exhibition, will showcase innovative practice and approaches. 


The MHN will continue to work on the what the future of the mental health workforce should look like, following on from the publication of our report, The future of the mental health workforce with the Centre for Mental Health, supported by Health Education England and NHS Employers, in the Autumn of 2017. We will continue to work with partners, including Health Education England, on projects relating to the key recommendations made in the report.

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