The Mental Health Network represents providers from across the statutory and non-statutory sectors.
We work 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.
What do we do for our members?
The NHS is going through its biggest ever changes and is facing ever increasing financial pressures, not least in the mental health sector.
This means there is no more crucial time than now for providers of mental health services to stand united and to speak as one voice.
The Mental Health Network is that voice. We are constantly working hard to ensure that our members are heard. We know it’s tough and challenging for our members and on their behalf we have had real influence.
This is just a snapshot of how we do it...
Working with political parties
We worked closely with parliamentarians from the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat political parties in policy development and shaping manifestos in the run up to the General Election 2015. We set out our five priorities for the new Government in A Manifesto for Better Mental Health. The manifesto was jointly produced with colleagues from Centre for Mental Health, Mental Health Foundation, Mind, Rethink Mental Illness and the Royal College of Psychiatrists in our capacity as the Mental Health Policy Group.
Mental health crisis care
In February 2014 we signed up, on behalf of our members, to the Department of Health’s Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat which aims to support local systems in achieving systematic and continuous improvements for those in need of crisis care. In January 2015 we produced a joint briefing Mental Health and Policing with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) highlighting emerging good practice to deliver improved care for people in mental health crisis. It demonstrates our commitment to the Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat.
With partners the Centre for Mental Health, we are delivering the Implementing Recovery through Organisational Change (ImROC) programme, a joint initiative that works with mental health service providers in refocusing services around the principles of recovery.
One sector, one voice
We co-founded the Mental Health Policy Group (MHPG) with partners Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, Centre for Mental Health, Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Mental Health Foundation. In May 2015, the MHPG published Improving England’s Mental Health: The First 100 Days and Beyond setting out five priority areas for action for the new Government.
Challenging institutional bias
In December 2014 we urged NHS England to be more directive in their Planning Guidance in relation to spending on mental health services. As a result he planning guidance supports delivery of the forward view, published on 19 December, stated that "we expect each CCG's spending on Mental Health Services in 2015/16 to increase in real terms and grow by at least as much as each CCG's allocation increase". We are fighting hard on behalf of our members in challenging the system bias against mental health.
Making parity a reality
In February 2014, the then Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg launched the Government’s refreshed mental health strategy Closing the Gap. We are working to build a strong link with the new Minister of State for Care and Support, Alistair Burt MP, and the Department of Health to ensure true parity of esteem between mental health and physical health services.
Choice and Payment by Results
Choice of provider for mental health services is now a reality with work also continuing around the introduction of new payment mechanisms. We are closely engaging with NHS England and others in representing the views of our members effectively during this important period.
Maternal mental health
An area often overlooked, we are working to highlight good practice in maternal mental health, outlining gaps in provision and exploring the opportunities and challenges for services to secure positive outcomes for children and parents. In June 2014 we published A good start in life: Improving perinatal and maternal mental health provision briefing paper.