About mental health

It is a historic time for mental health. NHS England has undertaken an ambitious programme to transform mental health services by 2020/21 – and to provide equal status to mental and physical health, equal status to mental health staff and equal funding for mental health services.

Putting these plans into action means we must ensure funding reaches the front-line, that we recruit and retain highly trained staff and tackle inequalities so that everyone can access mental health care no matter their age, location, revenues or ethnicity.

After decades of under-investment there’s a lot to do and we will need the support of the whole health and care system, as well as service users and their families, to develop the right services and fully integrate mental and physical health care.

The changes made since the foundation of the National Health Service in 1948 will be nothing compared to those we’ll see in the years ahead. In the near future, for example, we can expect to see digital services that bring people closer to the care they need. Everyone will be able to access professional help, prescriptions and support through their mobile phones.

This transformation of mental health is one of the most ambitious programmes of its type in the world – aspiring to help an extra million people access high-quality mental health care, supported by additional investment of £1 billion. But it is just the start of what needs to be a sustained, multi-generational effort to make improvements.

NHS: 70 years of mental health care

It is a historic time for mental health in England. NHS England has undertaken an ambitious programme to transform mental health services by 2020/21 – and to provide equal status to mental and physical health. We’ve come a long way – 70 years ago, people with mental health problems were locked away from society – at home and in asylums. Discover how we have improved mental health in England over the past seven decades with our new infographic.