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Promoting mental health at all ages

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The reaction to a mental health problem is often one of stigma and misunderstanding.

New Horizons: a shared vision for mental health is about changing this attitude, as well as promoting mental health at all ages and improving services for patients with mental health conditions.

The vision replaces the 10-year National Service Framework for Mental Health, which only covered people of working age.

Fifty percent of mental health conditions appear by the time a person is 14. New Horizons’ focus on earlier interventions will help prevent these conditions becoming
entrenched and improve patient outcomes.

Tailoring services to the individual is another main goal. Almost half of the 20 planned personal health budget pilots will involve a mental health component.

Donna Luck is Team Leader of North Warwickshire’s Early Intervention in Psychosis team, Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust. She says: ‘New
Horizons will raise the credibility and understanding of work already being carried out in early intervention services, as well as placing them firmly on the map for the future of mental health delivery.

‘It will hopefully lead to a future of seamless working that will have a genuine and positive impact on the development of mental health problems and on future recovery.’

A vision, not a blueprint New Horizons is the result of collaboration between 10 government departments. Rather than being a set of rules laid down centrally, the
emphasis is on quality and local implementation.

The vision has been drawn up following close working with professional and third sector organisations, including the Future Vision Coalition, which is a group of 11 mental health stakeholders. A national consultation also attracted over 1,100 responses, which will feed in to how mental health services should be improved.

Each government department has also signed up to firm commitments to further the vision. For the DH, this includes updating the National Suicide Prevention Strategy, supporting the creation of a Quality Network for Eating Disorders and working with the Cabinet Office to meet the primary health needs of socially excluded groups, such as homeless people.

A cross-department ministerial board will be established to keep up momentum and oversee implementation.

Parents’ helpline launched

The charity, YoungMinds, has launched a helpline to provide confidential support for parents worried about the emotional problems or behaviour of a young person.

Funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, the service helps parents deal with issues at home by empowering them to address their children’s behaviour within the family at an early stage.

This fits with the New Horizons vision on early intervention, as well as helping to save money and resources. Nurses can offer this free, quality assured service to parents and carers.

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