More than 20,000 people have given their views on the top priorities for reshaping mental health services as part of a drive to develop a five year national NHS strategy for people of all ages.
Better access to high quality services, a wider choice of treatments, more focus on prevention, more funding and less stigma were the top five calls for change by 2020.
The results of the Mental Health Taskforce: Engagement Report have been published today (Wednesday) and will be discussed during a session at the NHS England Expo 2015 conference.
Carried out by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness on behalf of the Five Year Forward View national Mental Health Taskforce, the views of patients, carers, the public and health professionals were collected.
The report will be used to inform the work of the Taskforce, which was launched in March 2015 to explore the variation in the availability of mental health services across England, look at the outcomes for people who are using services, and identify key priorities for improvement.
Since April, feedback has been received from 20,473 people via an online survey; 250 people with lived experience and carers attended events, 60 people detained in secure mental health services were supported to send in written responses and 26 organisations also wrote in submissions.
Three clear themes emerged from the findings:
Fifty-two per cent of people said access was in their top three priorities for change, 33 per cent said needing a choice of treatment and 25 per cent said prevention. Funding was important with 21 per cent rating it in their top three and stigma was cited by 19 per cent.
Over half of the people who responded to the on line survey had personal experience of mental health problems and around a tenth said it was a severe and enduring problem. Just under half was a family member or close friend and a quarter were mental health practitioners.
Other areas that were identified as important included treating mental health equally with physical health, more joined up NHS services, attitudes of NHS professionals, improved training and recruiting staff with particular skills.
All the findings will inform the full report which the Taskforce will publish in the autumn detailing the proposed five year national strategy.
Stephen Dalton, chief executive of the Mental Health Network, is a member of the taskforce. MHN has supported engagement opportunities for members and hosted a member meeting with Paul Farmer, the Taskforce chair, to further influence the taskforce priorities’.