GP talking to patient

Today marks day one of Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health issues and to inspire action to promote good mental health for all.

This year’s theme is Body Image – how we think and feel about our bodies.

'What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candour and more unashamed conversation' - Glenn Close

'I’m not going to sacrifice my mental health to have the perfect body' Demi Levato

'Too many young girls have eating disorders due to low self-esteem and distorted body image, I think it’s so important for girls to love themselves and treat their bodies respectfully.' Ariana Grande

We feel passionate about this theme for Mental Health Awareness Week and recognise the importance of all agencies coming together to provide support, especially to children and young people.

Body image is becoming ever-important in an ever-changing society and a false sense of perfection created by the implosion of social media and advertising, there is increasing research that suggests both of these have a negative impact on self-esteem. We work with a range of partners in the development and delivery of mental health services and support to all age groups.

We are committed to championing mental health through all areas of our work starting with our own staff and partner organisations. Our internal knowledge network, SCW Thrive, offers support to our colleagues’ mental well-being and ensures that we have a whole host of experts available to add value to your projects with their knowledge, experience and dedication to remaining abreast of the latest innovation in the area.

When we made the decision to create SCW Thrive, we took inspiration from the New York City Thrive model which is a commitment to creating a mental health system that works for everyone. We wanted to recreate this, with a knowledge network that works for everyone and simply put, allows everyone in SCW to thrive. Similarly, to NYC we built our model on six key principles:

Not only is the prevalence of those living with mental health conditions high in the UK and highlighted by awareness weeks such as this, but the NHS Long Term Plan also brings further attention and focus to mental health services and the changes required to support those affected by mental health conditions.

The prevalence of mental health conditions in the UK

Mental health conditions are prevalent in the UK. A House of Commons Briefing Paper reported:

  •      1 million people were in contact with mental health services by December 2017.
  •      One in six adults reports experiencing the symptoms of a common mental health disorder at any given time – within the past week.
  •      Around 1 million people received psychological therapy for a common mental disorder through the IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) programme in 2016/17.

The need to support those living with mental health conditions in the UK is clear. NHS England has stated a commitment to grow mental health services with a ring-fenced local investment fund worth at least £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24.

NHS England maintains that this will unlock further expansion of services as well as faster access to community and crisis mental health services for adults, children and young people.   

Mental Health and the NHS Long Term Plan

The NHS Long Term Plan was published by NHS England and sets out a ten-year vision for health services in England.

The NHS Long Term Plan states the following:

  •      The goal of helping 380,000 more people get therapy for depression and anxiety by 2023/24.
  •      An intention to deliver community-based physical and mental care for 370,000 people with severe mental illness a year by 2023/24.

Within the plan is a set of proposals relating to specific mental health services for people of all ages across the mental health landscape. These include:

Perinatal mental health 

Perinatal mental health problems are those that occur during pregnancy or in the first year following the birth of a child.

  •      Care will be available for longer
  •      Increased evidence-based support
  •      Increased access for more women
  •      Family interventions – therapies available to the mother and her family
  •      Services offered to fathers and partners

Urgent and Emergency care

  •      Emergency response – specific waiting time targets
  •      Transport – the introduction of new mental health transport vehicles
  •      Ambulance services – the introduction of triage to improve response to mental health calls
  •      Skills development – increase the competency of ambulance staff
  •      A&E interface – all-age liaison services
  •      Core 24 – meeting core 24 service standard


  •      Expansion
  •      Crisis support
  •      Improving outcomes

Inpatient Psychiatric

  •      Patient experience – investment in the environment
  •      Out of area placements
  •      Improving outcomes – design of a new Mental Health Safety Improvement Programme focusing on suicide prevention
  •      Length of stay – bring the length of stay in inpatient units to the national average of 32 days

Children and young people

  •      Access through education – mental health support teams
  •      Increased access to support
  •      Student welfare services
  •      New care models - integration

Learning disabilities and autism 

  •      Community support - improve uptake
  •      Digital flag – staff awareness of a patient having a learning disability or autism by 2023/24
  •      Keyworkers
  •      Patient journey – enforcing standards
  •      Discharge planning
  •      Strengthening the review process
  •      Expansion of Personal Health Budget

SCW: system solutions for mental health

SCW works tirelessly to provide extensive support to mental health systems across the south of England, providing mental health offering to deliver system support and coordination through end-to-end solutions.

With a focus on achieving genuine and sustainable improvement of the mental health and wellbeing of local populations, SCW has developed expert system solutions for mental health.

Fully contributing to the requirements of the NHS Long Term plan and other national drivers, the aim of the mental health service offering is to facilitate the wellbeing of all those who require services through:

  •      Contractual management and solutions - continual management of your mental health services portfolio, innovative contracting solutions and automated reporting.
  •      Efficiency and performance - efficiency and performance through the management and review of systems, portfolios and placements.
  •      Service data and intelligence - service intelligence through variance analysis, demand and utilisation to inform clinical delivery and outcomes.
  •      Finance support and solutions - managing mental health spend, providing forecasting and financial management. Offering advice on payment mechanisms and reference costs.
  •      Innovation and transformation - programme-management led transformation reviewing pathway design and new care models.
  •      System support - providing a wide range of system-wide services and supporting stakeholders as a trusted partner to ICS and STPs.

Find out more  

 If you would like to find out more about SCW’s range of system solutions for mental health, the system support available and how your vision of transformation can become a reality for your local population, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..   

Deputy Director Mental Health Transformation

More blogs