Mental health services provide a range of mental health care and support to children, young people and adults depending on the level of mental health need, from talking therapies such as Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services for more common mental health conditions, through to severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
We know that generally one-in-four adults and one-in-ten children experience mental illness during their lifetime. Demand for mental health services has been steadily growing over recent years, but has accelerated as a result of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. As feelings of loneliness, anxiety and fears for the future continue, as well as financial uncertainty arising from the pandemic, demand for mental health services has greatly increased and is likely to continue for some years to come.
We know too that physical and mental health are closely connected. There are higher rates of mental health conditions among people with long-term physical health problems. Similarly, those with severe mental illness experience poor physical health and have a lower life expectancy.
Mental health services in north central London
The former CCGs in each of the five boroughs in north central London were responsible for planning and paying for mental health services individually for their residents. This has led to a complex and varied range of mental health service provision for adults, children and young people. Access to services differs by borough and waiting times are variable. We want to ensure the services we pay for are high quality and meet the mental health needs of our diverse communities and for all ages.
As part of the mental health service review, we are working with our health and care system partners to develop a consistent and equitable core service offer that improves the outcomes and experiences of people of all ages with mental health problems.
Our ambition is to:
- Improve access to care for children and adults needing mental health support, whether that is access to talking therapies for common disorders, such as stress and anxiety, post-natal mental health care or treatment for those with severe mental illness or in crisis.
- Buy sustainable mental health services that are responsive to the needs of service users and improve outcomes, giving equal priority to both mental and physical health needs, which is a key ambition of the NHS Long Term Plan.
- Plan, buy and deliver mental health services with greater focus on more care delivered in the community and in a more joined up way. For example, we want to expand services in to schools and colleges for children and young people to support early intervention and prevent escalating need.
- Ensure that mental health services are responsive and meet the needs of children, young people and adults now and in the future, and are well-equipped to manage the expected demand resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mental health services for adults in north central London are mainly provided by Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust and Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, while mental health services for children and young people are provided by the following NHS trusts:
- Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust (BEHMHT)
- Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
- Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust
- Whittington Health.