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There is a way to follow the key developments that emanated from two government reports about the crucial need of improving the UK’s mental health practice. The first report was dubbed as “a cross-government mental health outcomes strategy” for all UK residents (Department of Health, 2011).
The second report was known as the “implementation framework” that was produced after the government collaborated with groups like the Royal College of General Practitioner and the Local Government Association (National Health Service, 2012).
It is imperative to find out the possible outcome of these reports in upgrading the country’s capabilities when it comes to mental health information and communication. It is also important to discover how these developments affected the process of information dissemination for public awareness and public service. One way to analyze the impact of these two government reports is to determine its possible influence in shaping the content of three leading websites that specialize in helping UK residents that are suffering from the consequences of mental health problems.
Andrew Lansley, the Secretary of State for Health and Paul Burstow, the top executive for the Minister of State for Care Services placed their signatures on a document that outlines an ambitious plan. The same thing can be said of the “implementation framework” signed by Sir David Nicholson, the Chief Executive of the National Health Services, and Duncan Selbie, the Chief Executive of Public Health England.
The report from the Department of Health and the National Health Service outlined an endeavor to enhance the nation’s health care system by fixing the shortcomings of the mental health sector. Any attempt to improve a national health care delivery system is always perceived as an extremely difficult task (The UK’s Faculty of Public Health, 2016). The challenge of improving the government’s health care program is rooted in the high demand for quality care and the spiraling cost of treatment and prevention programs (Roche, 2016).
In other words, government leaders and health care workers are always struggling against the consequences of managing finite resources (Economic and Social Research Council, 2016). From this perspective, it is easy to make the pronouncement that the most prudent thing to do is to aim for cost-efficiency and not initiate an attempt to create something grand (The King’s Fund, 2015).
However, the aforementioned ministers of health and top executives of key government agencies, those who were responsible for the UK’s present-day health care system expressed a desire to set lofty goals (Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2010). In the two government reports mentioned earlier, there was no discussion of streamlining the operations. On the other hand, a radical way of perceiving and appreciating the UK’s contemporary health care policy was introduced to the public. This “No Health without Mental Health” framework attempts to elevate the importance of mental health issues in the same way that people give value to the treatment and prevention of heart diseases and cancer.
Before going any further, it is important to point out that policymakers were not only wary of the inevitable challenges created by the management of limited resources. One can make the argument that at the time of writing, the proponents of the new health care policy were concerned by the difficulties caused by the absence of a dominant political party. In the past, the privilege to govern the United Kingdom was contested by a few dominant political parties.
Due to the absence of competition from a plethora of political organizations, it was relatively easy to “produce a clear majority for a single party” at the end of every election cycle (Rucki, 2015). However, in the year 2010, there was a hung parliament, and the opposite came true because not a single political party was able to dominate the British electoral process. As a result, a coalition government was formed between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party.
David Cameron representing the Conservative Party took the reins as the Prime Minister, and Nick Clegg representing the Liberal Democrats was chosen as Deputy Prime Minister (Rucki, 2015). In addition to the possible complications and deadlocks that may arise from an uneasy alliance between political rivals, political analysts were also worried about a chain-reaction caused by a financial deficit not seen since the end of the Second World War (Crawford and Johnson, 2015).
These were the socio-economic forces operating in the background when the UK’s ministers of health attempted to create a new mechanism that would deal with the country’s mental health shortcomings. Be that as it may, there is a clear parameter in measuring the success of the said initiative. Assessing the impact of the government’s “No Health without Mental Health” strategy requires the examination of the application of the implementation framework, and figuring out the effect of the implementation process on the activities of at least three key stakeholders.
Key Areas of Development
Insights gleaned from the study of two government reports uncovered the Department of Health’s two-pronged approach in the establishment of new policies and new mindsets when it comes to the delivery of health care services for mental health patients. The first level of development requires the creation of a strategy. The second level requires the creation of an appropriate framework. The strategy component provides the mental image of the expected outcome and the rationale for the said undertaking. The implementation framework provides the real-world implementation of the said strategy.
The policymakers behind the creation of the cross-government health outcomes strategy were guided by several core principles. For example, policymakers acknowledged the need to work with stakeholders and other partners. Second, they acknowledged the need to move away from a “centralized type” of governance so that they aimed to give back the control to the citizens in the context of creating flexibility in the decision-making process. Finally, the jewel in this crown was the commitment to help those in need regardless of socio-economic background, and this included infants, children, young people, adults, and the elderly (Department of Health, 2011).
The implementation framework as documented in the second government report contained four major sections, and these are listed as follows: 1) set out how to make the necessary changes to turn the strategy’s vision into reality; 2) measuring and reporting the progress in the implementation of the said strategy; 3) figure out how local organizations can help the government; and 4) figure out how local organizations can effectively utilize the government’s assistance in the context of mental health services (National Health Service, 2012).
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About the first component of the implementation framework, the lofty ideal “parity of esteem” is being translated as creating greater access to mental health services from day one. In other words, there is a need to enhance the level of importance of preventing and treating mental health issues (Centre for Mental Health, 2016).
The proponents of the implementation framework did not shy away from using tough measures of success indicators. The first key to success is to increase the number of patients that can recover from the effects of mental health problems. The second key to success is to reduce the under 21 mortality in citizens with severe mental illness (National Health Service, 2012). Finally, the proponents wanted to increase the number of people reporting that the utilization of mental health services enabled them to feel safe and secure.
About the third component, the implementers of the strategy highlighted the need to work closely with mental health service providers to improve early detection. Furthermore, the proponents of the implementation framework identified the need to utilize the power of information to provide innovative services to the community.
The fourth component ensures the participation of the government in mental health issues that are beyond the scope of local organizations. For example, it is the responsibility of the national government to improve payment schemes to improve access to mental health services. It is also within the scope of the national government’s authority to ensure that patients will have a diversity of choices when it comes to mental health services. Finally, the national government takes care of ancillary support systems, such as housing, social justice, the criminal justice system, and employment opportunities.
Impact on Three Leading Mental Health Websites
The reports provided the framework to help the stakeholders to understand the needs of the population. The two documents also revealed the government’s implementation strategy to improve the health care delivery system in the UK by enhancing the prevention, treatment, and recovery of citizens affected with a mental health problem. However, it is high time to initiate a real-world assessment of the said strategy by looking at how three mental health websites managed the information dissemination process in favor of the general public. In this regard, the assessment process requires looking into the activities of two non-government organizations and one NHS-backed group.
The first one in the block is the organization called “Mind”, a non-government group that relies on donations to operate at least one thousand services all over the UK. The plethora of services include counseling, training, crisis helplines, employment, and drop-in centers (Mind, 2016). This particular organization is an asset when it comes to the national government’s objective of improving mental health care.
The performance of this group enhanced the credibility of the national government after revealing the plan to work with stakeholders and to transfer control of the decision-making process back to the citizens. Nevertheless, it is important to point out that the critical feedback regarding the success of the government’s implementation framework was made evident in the use of the Information Standard when helping those who needed treatment.
According to the official website of “Mind”, a significant number of people expressed their gratitude to the group, because they have found a place where they could access reliable information about their mental health issues (NHS England, 2016). As a result, another major milestone was reached, and this was the goal to increase the number of citizens that were self-reporting positive feelings of security and safety.
Another non-government organization that is included in the assessment process is the one called the “Mental Health Foundation.” The group’s focus is to work with citizens living in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The key difference between the “Mental Health Foundation” and “Mind” is that the former focused on rigorous research and evidence-based intervention strategies. In other words, this group provides a specialized service, one that deals with rigid scientific protocols to ensure evidence-based assertions regarding mental health problems.
Aside from leveraging a sophisticated research-based knowledge acquisition process, the Mental Health Foundation also shares information regarding treatment choices. In this regard, the group is another example of a successful implementation of the strategy to work with people on the local level. At the same time, the group’s importance is magnified in its capability to cover critical areas of need without the encumbrances oftentimes associated with national governments.
Furthermore, not only does Mental Health Foundation give a tremendous boost to the government’s initiative of enhancing the information dissemination output, but it also provides top-quality information regarding early detection, care, and prevention by spearheading research projects that do not require funding from the national treasury. Also, there is a certain feature of the Mental Health Foundation’s website that illustrates the success of the implementation framework in terms of expanding the scope of the government’s drive to educate people on the importance and availability of mental health services. In one section of the group’s website, one can find links to other organizations with specific capabilities that are more suited to the needs of the person seeking help (Samaritans, 2016).
The last website under consideration is the NHS Choices; this is the official website of the UK’s National Health Services. This website was created to accomplish the specific goals outlined in the aforementioned implementation framework. For example, NHS Choices is the number one destination when it comes to reliable information discussing the subject matter of mental health problems.
Be that as it may, there is a unique feature of the website that highlighted specific measures of progress, and this section provides information on how people can have access to different options when it comes to developing a plan in dealing with certain mental health problems (NHS Choices, 2016). This website also offers links to ancillary support systems, such as pharmacies, home care facilities, and consultants that can help deal with problems related to symptoms of mental health issues.
The UK government created an ambitious plan of enhancing the nation’s health care delivery system. The cornerstone of this initiative was the “No health without mental health” initiative. The government set lofty goals because the desired outcome was to change people’s perspective when it comes to the importance of mental health. One of the goals highlighted was to achieve “parity of esteem” so that mental health patients were able to access top-quality care.
At the onset, it was clear to the policymakers that it was impossible to accomplish the said lofty goals without collaborating with different stakeholders and partners. To ensure the success of the program, it was deemed necessary to develop a strategy and a corresponding implementation framework. Thus, there came about an outcome’s strategy to ensure early detection and increasing access to reliable information regarding mental health illnesses.
The implementation framework was added to make sure that there was an appropriate mechanism that could help determine the keys to success. The effectiveness of the implementation framework was analyzed by looking into the information dissemination process of three important websites that served as information hubs regarding mental health issues. At first glance, the effectiveness of the implementation framework was apparent, because the said websites were repositories of reliable information. However, certain features of the said three websites validated the initiatives of the government as expressed in the outcomes strategy.
For example, the websites were effective showcases when speaking about the development of a cost-efficient system of delivering information to the general public. In the case of the Mental Health Foundation, the group’s website did not only serve as a sort of warehouse for practical information but at the same time, the organization behind the website was also instrumental in the acquisition of information through scientific research.
Also, the two non-government groups showcased ways to collaborate with local groups to expand the health care delivery efforts of the government. It will require another round of research to determine the progress and success rate of the national government with regards to the “No health without mental health” initiative. Nevertheless, the presence of the three websites provided enough evidence to conclude that the UK government is on the right track in enhancing the health care delivery process and in reducing the number of people suffering from the impact of mental health problems. It is a good starting point for the coalition government.
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