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The Mental Health Foundation is launching a new report, 'Crossing Boundaries: Improving integrated care for people with mental health problems', highlighting that current support for people with mental health problems is based on the flawed idea that physical and mental health care are separate issues. The report outlines the key factors in achieving integrated healthcare, singling out the commitment of leaders and frontline staff to cross-boundary working as the single biggest factor.
Good integrated care for people with mental health needs remains the exception rather than the rule. The year-long Inquiry* calls for a fundamental change in thinking about health care, and for commissioners and practitioners to recognise the benefits of integrated, holistic approaches to care that involve not just health and social care services, but factors such as education, employment, housing and poverty.
Simon Lawton Smith, Head of Policy at the Mental Health Foundation says:
"The need for an integrated approach to supporting people with mental health problems was identified 65 years ago when the NHS was founded. Failure to provide integrated care is not a failure of understanding what needs to be done, it is a failure of actually implementing good practice in organisational strategies and the day to day business of organisations and staff.
"We identified nine structural factors that can help to establish effective integrated care for people with mental health needs. However while these are all helpful, the key message from our inquiry is that it is the quality of people involved that makes or breaks integrated care - leaders with a determination to drive forward integrated care at an organisational level, and staff who understand the holistic nature of health care and are have no professional defensiveness about working closely with colleagues in other disciplines, and with patients and families."
In terms of how current care provision can be better integrated, the Inquiry identified two underpinning essentials:
The Inquiry identified nine areas where good practice can play a role in facilitating integrated care for people with a mental health problem:
*The year-long Inquiry considered over 1200 responses from people who use mental health services, carers and family, and health professionals, and looked at published evidence on integrated care.
Mental Health Foundation
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
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Foundation, Mental Health. "New report highlights that staff, not structures, are the key to integrated care for people with mental health problems." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 5 Sep. 2013. Web.
11 Dec. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/265668>
Foundation, M. (2013, September 5). "New report highlights that staff, not structures, are the key to integrated care for people with mental health problems." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
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