Implementing mental health policy: some lessons from recent history.

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Centre for Mental Health
Centre for Mental Health
Date of publication
1 March 2016
Mental health services, Social Policy
Social welfare
Material type

Download (274KB )

This report for the Mental Health Taskforce explores what helps and what hinders the implementation of policies and strategies relating to mental health in England. It reviews literature,interviews and focus groups with those responsible for policy implementation over the last 20 years. It identifies 12 factors that influence the implementation of strategies:

  •  Money: strategies supported with extra funding have a greater chance of success.
  •  Focus: strategies with a clear narrative and a small number of widely supported action points are more likely to succeed.
  • Targets: mainstream health policy continues to be driven, at least partly, by targets and incentives, and mental health strategies have benefited from close alignment with these.
  • Scrutiny.
  • Passion and public opinion.
  •  Leadership: effective national and local leadership is vital for success. 
  •  An engaged workforce.
  •  Partnerships: locally and nationally, mental health policy relies on organisations working together.
  •  Implementation support.
  • Innovation, evaluation and adaptation.
  • Management: good quality project management is essential for local areas to implement change.
  •  Time: changing practice takes longer than policy-makers think.

Related to Mental health services

Body image: how we think and feel about our bodies

Report on body image and the associated mental health risks

Engaging with complexity: providing effective trauma informed care for women

This guide provides advice on the impact of trauma on women

More items related to this subject