Mental health

We want to fundamentally shift from focusing on treatment of mental health issues to prevention and helping Londoners stay emotionally, mentally and physically well at all ages.

When care is required we want people to be able to easily access services and be treated promptly. We want mental and physical health needs to both be met and to ensure individuals experience high quality integrated and seamless care across all settings. Through this we aspire to eliminate the inequality in life expectancy of those with severe and enduring mental illness.

Our challenges

More than a million Londoners will experience mental ill health this year. London has the highest demand for child and adult mental health services of the whole country, the highest rate of compulsory psychiatric admissions in England and the highest rates of schizophrenia.

Mental illness remains underdiagnosed and under-treated, with a quarter of people with mental illness receiving treatment compared to 92% of people with diabetes and over 75% of people with heart disease. Compounding these issues, the physical health of people with mental illness is often poor.

People with severe and enduring mental illness (SEMI) die 17 years earlier than the rest of the adult population.

Despite there being examples of excellent and innovative practice, services are often poor and fragmented, with limited communication between the agencies involved in an individual’s care. London has poor rates of access to crucial services, such as:

  • Increasing Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) programmes, with the lowest rates of recovery and improvement in England.
  • Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) services have waiting times of a year or more, meaning that people hit crisis point long before they receive treatment and when they do only 14% report getting the support they need.

If London is to achieve parity of esteem between mental and physical health, transformation is required at all stages of the pathway – from prevention, self-management and self-care to crisis services and treatment.  There needs to be support for people with the most severe mental illness, at all levels of the health and care system, from very local to London-wide.

About this programme

The NHS in London has come together to agree five joint priorities for mental health for 2015/16 and beyond to address these demands and issues for the benefit of our patients:

1. Address the gap in life expectancy ‘the stolen years’ between those with SEMI and the rest of the adult population

2. Reduce the variation and improve quality, access and co-ordination for people in crisis and meet the crisis care concordat

3. Strengthen mental health in primary care to meet the challenges

4. Improve access to meet new standards for mental health services as outlined in the FYFV, focusing on; early identification and access to psychosis services; perinatal mental health and IAPT

5. Improve the use and sharing of data and information

Learn more about what we are doing to improve mental health crisis care in London 

London GPs can get help quickly for people experiencing psychosis. We are supporting the new early intervention in psychosis target with materials, training and resources...

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Around 23% of women who died between six weeks and one year after pregnancy died from mental health related causes, there is new guidance for commissioners...

People who have a serious mental illness live significantly shorter lives - around 10 to 20 years shorter than other people.

Thrive London launched in December 2016. It aims to encourage London to step up and become a movement so that every person in London can live happier, healthier lives...

Service users' perspectives and experiences must be considered when developing strategies, if there is to be a real and lasting impact on people's lives.

Across London hundreds of people – including the Mayor, NHS and Council leaders, and local residents – are working together to pilot a digital service that helps Londoners improve and maintain good mental wellbeing.