11th January 2017

Image: Prime Minister Announces Plans to Transform Attitudes Towards Mental Health – Our Response.Earlier this week, Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans to transform attitudes towards mental health, as part of a new Government strategy to create a “shared society”.

In her first major speech on health, Mrs May said mental illness has been “dangerously disregarded” as less important than physical illness. One in four people experience a mental health disorder over the course of their lives, contributing to an annual cost of £105billion.

Children and young people are particularly vulnerable, with figures showing that more than half of mental health problems begin before the individual is 14 years old. To this end, a number of measures focus on young people, including making extra training available for teachers and a review of adolescent and child services across the UK.

The Prime Minster also announced a review by mental health charity Mind to improve support in the workplace, additional training for employers, and the provision of an additional £15million towards community-based care.

It is imperative that mental health services are of the highest quality, and at Skills for Health we welcome efforts to raise the profile of this important issue. However, such transformation cannot be achieved without an emphasis on workforce training and development.

We are proud to have worked in partnership with Health Education England, Skills for Care and a broad range of stakeholder organisations, to develop a new Mental Health Core Skills Education and Training and Framework, to be launched later this month.

The framework aims to improve the way the health and social care workforce care for people with mental health issues, by outlining the core skills and knowledge the workforce need to provide high quality services.

The delivery of mental health services involves a diverse, extensive workforce. To this end, the framework identifies skills and knowledge across three tiers, ranging from general mental health awareness, to the skills needed to care for people with complex mental health needs. It will support a more efficient and consistent approach to the delivery of cross-sector training and education for the mental health workforce.

John Rogers, chief executive, Skills for Health, said, “Real change in the level, consistency and quality of mental health provision in the UK must start with those at the frontline of care delivery: the health and social care workforce. This new framework will create a solid foundation for organisations across the health and social care sector, so that they can ensure their staff have the skills, knowledge and expertise to provide the high-quality, individual care that patients with mental illness need. The framework will also serve as a medium through which education and training can be measured in terms of positive outcomes for people living with mental health issues, their families and carers.”

Find out more about the Mental Health Core Skills Education and Training Framework