We want to fundamentally shift from focusing on treatment of mental health issues to prevention and helping Londoners stay emotionally, mentally and physically well at all ages. When care is required we want people to be able to easily access services and be treated promptly. We want mental and physical health needs to both be met and to ensure individuals experience high quality integrated and seamless care across all settings. Through this we aspire to eliminate the inequality in life expectancy of those with serious mental illness.
More than a million Londoners will experience mental ill health this year. London has the highest demand for child and adult mental health services of the whole country, the highest rate of compulsory psychiatric admissions in England and the highest rates of schizophrenia.
Mental illness remains underdiagnosed and under-treated, with a quarter of people with mental illness receiving treatment compared to 92% of people with diabetes and over 75% of people with heart disease. Compounding these issues, the physical health of people with mental illness is often poor.
People with serious mental illness (SMI) die 15-20 years earlier than the rest of the adult population.
Despite there being examples of excellent and innovative practice, services are often poor and fragmented, with limited communication between the agencies involved in an individual’s care. London has poor rates of access to crucial services, such as:
- Increasing access to psychological therapy (IAPT) programmes, with the lowest rates of recovery and improvement in England.
- Early intervention in psychosis (EIP) services have waiting times of a year or more, meaning that people hit crisis point long before they receive treatment and when they do only 14% report getting the support they need.
If London is to achieve parity of esteem between mental and physical health, transformation is required at all stages of the pathway – from prevention, self-management and self-care to crisis services and treatment. There needs to be support for people with the most severe mental illness, at all levels of the health and care system, from very local to London-wide.