The ‘No Health without Mental Health’ health law set out the government’s strategy to bring mental healthcare into the mainstream so that people with mental health problems are seen as equal to those with physical health problems. It aims to boost the overall mental health of the UK population and to ensure that high-quality healthcare services are accessible to everyone with mental health problems.

The objectives of this strategy are the following:

  • To increase the number of people with good mental health
  • To increase the number of people with mental health problems that make a recovery
  • To improve the physical health of people with mental health problems
  • To reduce discrimination and stigma towards people with mental health problems
  • To reduce levels of avoidable harm
  • To improve the experiences of mental health patients who receive support or care

To monitor the progress this health law has had and how healthcare services are meeting the objectives outlined within it, the government has launched the Mental Health Dashboard. This initiative aims to collate information about mental health, drawing on publicly-available data and providing links to these sources, so that the health and fitness outcomes of people with mental health problems can be improved.

The dashboard will monitor:

  • People’s experiences of discrimination and social stigma
  • People’s experiences of mental health care and support
  • The mental health services available
  • The physical health and fitness of individuals with mental health problems
  • The mental wellbeing of the UK populace

Currently, approximately one person in every six is suffering from some form of mental health problem at any given moment. It is estimated that mental health problems cost the UK economy £105 billion annually.

Health laws and the Mental Health Dashboard

Currently, data in the dashboard will be used to display a baseline about mental health in the UK. Later editions of the dashboard will reveal whether the ambitions in the No Health Without Mental Health strategy have been successfully achieved. It will not be used to analyze the performance of any particular organization or group, but instead to provide a wide-ranging analysis of mental health provisions in the country.

The measurements recorded in the dashboard are considered those most relevant to the objectives in the government’s mental health strategy, and will not necessarily be those that will be easy for organizations or individuals to change.

Norman Lamb, Care, and Support Minister said that it is “vital” that the health and care sector focuses on improving mental health outcomes.

He argued the Mental Health Dashboard will help these organizations to achieve this goal by creating a clear picture of the state of the sector and the progress that is being made.

Good mental health and good resilience are essential for people’s health and fitness, for their education, for their relationships, for their training and employment, and if they are achieving their full potential, the minister added.

Carol Smith works alongside a team of solicitors in Burnley to advise and assist them in matters relating to health law. He comes from a family of mental health professionals and the subject of mental healthcare is very close to his heart.