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Mental health

We’re working closely with colleagues in the Department of Health, NHS England, Public Health England and local authorities to promote what ‘good mental health’ looks like and helping partners train and shape the NHS workforce to deliver service change and improve outcomes for patients


At least one in four people experience a mental health problem at some point in their life. It’s the single largest cause of disability in the UK, contributing up to 22.8% of the total burden, compared with 15.9% for cancers and 16.2% for cardiovascular diseases. The wider economic costs of mental illness in England are estimated at between £70 and 100 billion each year.

All health professionals need to have an understanding of mental health conditions. We’ve developed training programmes that will enable health and care employers to ensure that all staff have an awareness of mental health problems and how they may affect their patients. These programmes include an awareness of the links between patients’ mental and physical health and the impact of co-morbidity and the importance of work to health and health outcomes as well as the actions they can take to ensure that patients receive appropriate support.

Mental health workforce plan

Stepping Forward to 2020/21: Mental Health Workforce Plan for England, sets out a high level road map and reflects the additional staff required to deliver the transformation set out in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health. Read more and download the plan here.

Mental Health Core Skills Education and Training Framework

The Mental Health Core Skills Education and Training Framework has been developed in partnership with Skills for Health and Skills for Care. The Framework is part of the cross-government strategy on mental health, No Health Without Mental Health, and 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 they need to provide high-quality services.

Mental health services are delivered by a diverse and extensive workforce, and this new framework determines standards for their education and training and helps evaluate whether these have been met. It classifies key skills and knowledge into three tiers, ranging from general mental health awareness to the skills needed to care for people with complex mental health needs.

Professor Wendy Reid, National Director of Education and Quality and Medical Director, Health Education England, said, “During our careers, all of us in the health and social care sectors will come into contact with people suffering from mental ill health. It is therefore vital that education and training equips the workforce with the skills and knowledge to provide high-quality, person-centred, mental health care.

“This new framework will help commissioners and providers identify the core skills and knowledge required by teams at all levels across their services. By outlining the expected learning outcomes, it will underpin and enhance future education and training, which will in turn improve the quality of care received by anyone experiencing a mental health problem.”

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