UK’s Department of Health Announces Sweeping Mental Health Reforms

As is the case in many developed nations, the UK has been experiencing difficulties in meeting the needs of residents facing mental health difficulties recently, and though promises have been made to revisit the issue with care, some critics of the national health system have remained doubtful about meaningful progress. The Department of Health took an encouraging step forward Sunday with the announcement of a series of reforms to mental health treatment, especially in relation to the national workplace.

The reforms, which are to go into immediate effect, focus on helping those with mental health difficulties remain at work or return to work as quickly as possible following any incidents or requirements for periods of leave. To meet these ends, the national workplace will be served with the creation of nine industry-specific advice phone lines, each of which will help employers directly connect to occupational health specialists while providing employees with useful advice and a directory for gaining access to treatment and other services.

Mental health coordinators will also be staffed in Jobcentre Plus districts to help ensure that those with mental health concerns are given fair and equal access to available jobs, a reform that is noted to be especially beneficial given the well-being benefits of enjoying regular employment. The new efforts also encourage general practice physicians to intervene early when symptoms of mental health issues are detected, further adding to the potential for bringing mental health concerns out of the silence of stigma and into an environment in which those in need can be treated in meaningful ways. Though room still exists for further reforms and the implementation of new programs, the resources introduced Sunday are held by many to characterize a diligent social effort to improve national care.

© Copyright 2009 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

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  • Gavin


    December 9th, 2009 at 11:16 AM

    This is a step in the right direction… being comprehensive in its approach is a huge positive of this program if you ask me… because it not only supports people having mental health issues, but also sees to it that there is no discrimination against them at time of hiring.

  • michelle


    December 9th, 2009 at 3:50 PM

    People lose their jobs because they have mental health and if this is known, many employers hesitate to appoint such a person… it is due to the stereotyping towards mental health illnesses.

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