The Journey to Recovery – The Government’s Vision for Mental Health Care

The featured article reviewed here is a 2001 Department of Health Document, ‘The Journey to Recovery: The Government’s Vision for Mental Health Care’ which is freely available here.

There is an introduction from the former Minister for Health, Jacqui Smith in which she emphasises that mental health is one of the three main NHS clinical priorities for the government. There is then an introduction from the National Director for Mental Health, Louis Appleby who explains that this document is written for non-specialists with an interest in mental health services including local councillors and voluntary organisations. There is an introduction from the Joint heads of mental health at the DOH, John Mahony and Antony Sheehan who discuss the Government’s drive to include people with mental health problems, to move away from institutions and to create supportive services.

In a century of slow progress there is a fascinating overview of mental health service developments over the past century including references to the creation of Victorian Asylums and more recent developments including the ‘Better Services for the Mentally Ill’ government white paper from 1975 and the service pressures in the 1980’s and 1990’s. In ‘New Policies for the New Millenium’ there is an overview of the white paper ‘Modernising Mental Health Services’, the ‘NHS Plan’ and ‘The National Service Framework for Mental Health’. The structured approach of these policies facilitates relevant outcome measurements. The safe, sound and supportive motifs of the Modernising Mental Health Services paper are easily memorable while the principle aims of the National Service Framework and NHS Plan are summarised in simple, clear boxes before the section finishes with a discussion of the Care Program Approach and the Mental Health Act.

The Modern Mental Health Services section begins by looking at the groups of interest – people in a crisis, frequent users and people experiencing the onset of their illness. The paper then covers the standards in the National Service Framework for Mental Health and also looks at specific populations such women, ethnic minorities, those in prison and people with ‘dangerous severe personality disorder’. There is a last section on ‘Making It Happen’ which covers the Mental Health Task Force Mission Statement and looks at how services will be integrated. as well as the role of the National Institute for Mental Health and the process of monitoring changes.

This is a helpful overview of the Government’s vision for development of Mental Health Services which summarises key policy documents and initiatives as well as showing their relationships.

Steps to Treatment = 1 (Policy outline)


If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail


The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s