UK Unveils New Mental Health Care Policy

In the past week, reports have been published out of the U.S., the U.K. and Northern Ireland addressing how much money is spent—and should be spent—on mental health coverage such as psychotherapy, family counseling, and substance abuse treatment. Perhaps most notably, Britain has just unveiled a new program called No Health Without Mental Health that affirms mental health as an essential part of health care. The new policy is the result of collaboration between several government departments as well as mental health professionals and advocates. On the whole, the policy displays understanding of the integral role that mental health plays in the wellbeing of both individuals and society at large.

There are six objectives central to the plan laid out in No Health Without Mental Health. First, the policy emphasizes the importance of reaching a broad audience: improving the reach of care and diminishing the number of people adversely affected by mental health problems. Secondly, it recognizes that mental health care directly correlates with quality of life. Thirdly, it recognizes the connections between untreated mental health and both physical ailment and premature death. Fourth, it acknowledges that such negative outcomes are often avoidable through adequate therapy and treatment. Fifth, it emphasizes that mental health care ought to be a positive experience. And sixth, it takes aim at reducing discrimination and stigma surrounding mental health issues and people affected by them.

The nuance of these tenets is heartening, especially the assertion that therapy and counseling should be positive experiences. Additional government documents repeatedly emphasize that the strategy is “for people of all ages.” Overall, reception to the announcement has been positive, but various mental health advocacy groups have stressed the importance that funding follow in the policy’s footsteps. The Northern Ireland Branch of the Division of Clinical Psychology emphasizes the importance of investing funds in therapy, in particular. And the Royal College of Nursing fears that while No Health Without Mental Health is on the right track, funding for mental health may actually be reduced in the wake of the government’s pledge to make up £20 billion in efficiency savings.

© Copyright 2011 by By John Smith. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

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  • Joshua

    February 8th, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    Good to see that more and more people and even countries are recognizing the importance of mental health.There are still a lot of people out there who pay no attention to mental health and to them the only kind of health that they know of is the physical one,because it is something that they can see!

    I would say we need countries like the US and UK to actually put forth these things at international meets and convince other countries to actually take up mental healthcare seriously.It may not have a direct impact on us but will only make the world a better place and will definitely improve the lives of hundreds of millions,if not billions,of people.

  • cobbie

    February 8th, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    I’m not too confident of how successful this program is going to be but if it does have to become successful they will need to constantly pump in money into the program because the reason why most programs fail is because of lack of funding.programs start with a lot of zeal but after sometime the funds dry up.

  • Diane

    February 9th, 2011 at 5:41 AM

    seems they are always rolling out some new plan but what that says to me is that they are grasping at straws and that nothing is working. maybe they have the wrong people in charge of health care policy?

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