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£134m commitment to transform mental health in Greater Manchester

A huge £134m action plan to start to transform mental health in Greater Manchester has been launched.

The investment - the biggest and most ambitious of its kind in the country – aims not only to put mental health on an equal footing with physical health but to start to deliver Greater Manchester’s vision of making sure that no child who needs mental health support will be turned away.

And with nearly 60 per cent of the cash - £80m – supporting the mental health needs of children, young people and new mums, it also reflects the commitment to increase the proportion of the budget focused towards young people.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has described the programme as “potentially life-changing” for thousands of people.

The wide-ranging, four-year programme aims to:

  • Make sure thousands more children can get support where and when they need it, with the ambition that ultimately no child who needs mental health support will be turned away
  • Support all schools in meeting the mental health and wellbeing needs of their students
  • Help new mums who experience significant mental health problems – babies and children whose mums suffer poor mental health can be affected through their whole life.
  • Stop people who need hospital care for a mental health problem having to go out of Greater Manchester when the service is available here
  • Make sure everyone in a mental health crisis is able to get immediate support (and that no one ends up in a police cell when they are in mental health crisis)
  • Help people with serious mental illness have their physical health better looked after – at the moment those people die on average 15-20 years earlier
  • Offer extra support to the long-term unemployed or people who have mental health problems and risk losing their job
  • Reduce adult suicides by 10%
  • Make Greater Manchester the best place to live with dementia in the UK. Older people will receive diagnosis and referral within six weeks; by 2020/2021, significantly more people will get a named coordinator of care and a care plan and at least one annual review of that care plan

The announcement is being made by the Mayor and Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, the body overseeing the devolution of the £6bn health and care budget in the city region, ahead of the Partnership’s Board meeting on Friday July, 28th

Mr Burnham, said:

“This investment is potentially life changing for tens of thousands of people here.”

“If we’re honest NHS mental health services have not always been what we wanted them to be in Greater Manchester.”

“As we transform the way we spend on mental health – and increase the proportion spent on children and young people – we’ll begin to see some real change. If we’re to build a 21st century NHS here it would be one that turns no child away who needs mental health support and is based on the principle of true parity between mental and physical health.”

“But we must go further if we’re to help every person here get on in life. It’s not enough to tackle mental health services alone. The pressures of debt, poverty, low paid and insecure jobs, poor housing, homelessness and loneliness all have a massive impact. I want everyone here to reach their potential, and this is why we’re tackling these areas as well.”

Lord Peter Smith, Chair of Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, GMCA portfolio lead for Health and Social Care and Leader of Wigan Council, said:

We’re leading the country in many areas of health improvement in Greater Manchester and I’m delighted that mental health is no different. Since we took charge we’ve worked together across Greater Manchester to make some huge improvements and we’re now more than meeting all our national targets.”

“But that’s not enough for us – it still means some people are not getting the help they need and are struggling on their own or within their families. We want to keep people well and will work with community groups and volunteers to help support individuals in their communities, or, for those who are suffering serious illness to give them the crisis and long-term help they need to look after their physical and mental health.”

“All the partners involved in mental health across Greater Manchester have inspired the action plan. NHS commissioners, local authorities and businesses will work together with the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors, those using services and carers to make the improvements.”

Key facts and stats

  • Almost 4,000 more children and young people with a diagnosable mental health condition will get better care and receive treatment from an NHS funded mental health community service, including far better 24/7 access to crisis support service. This will be done through a redesigned care approach, shifting the focus away from accident and emergency departments as the first port of call.
  • By 2020, 95 per cent of those in need of eating disorder services will receive treatment within one week for urgent cases and four weeks for other cases
  • More than 1,680 more new mums will access evidence-based mental health care
  • 15,680 people with serious mental illness will have access to better health checks and interventions
  • 84,000 adults will access help from 168 new psychologists and 33,500 people will benefit from access to psychological therapies (including those with accompanying physical health conditions)
  • Greater Manchester will become the best place to live with dementia in the UK. Older people will receive diagnosis and referral within six weeks; by 2020/2021, significantly more people will get a named coordinator of care and a care plan and at least one annual review of that care plan
  • Early intervention for people who become ill and risk losing their job, or people out of work, and better support for long-term economically inactive
  • Innovative new service being launched to screen vulnerable people when arrested and give them help and support if needed, in a bid to reduce reoffending and inappropriate contacts with criminal justice services
  • Aim to improve public attitudes and behaviour towards people with mental health problems and reduce the amount of discrimination that people report in their personal relationships, social lives and at work

Case studies: 


iThrive is a model of mental health support which helps organisations and people working with children and young people to make sure they provide help, advice – or onward referral – at the right time.

The iThrive model measures need using five categories:

•           Thriving

•           Getting advice

•           Getting help

•           Getting more help

•           Getting risk support

This model, which has been piloted at Central Manchester University Hospitals Foundation NHS Trust, will be rolled out across Greater Manchester with new funding be used to train and develop more staff. Mental health professionals will be looking to develop its schools and college offer. They will work with education leads to help them make effective referrals to child and adolescent mental health services as well as training education professionals in supporting young people with their health and wellbeing.

iThrive looks at social circumstances such as loneliness, bereavement and neglect; environmental factors such as injustice, discrimination and exposure to trauma as well as individual factors such as emotional immaturity and illness. Services will be able to offer quick and flexible support with professionals looking at all the needs of a child or young person rather than focusing solely on diagnosis.

The aim is to increase capacity across the health and care system through a training hub and support children, young people, their families and professionals to be resilient, to be informed about support available, the choices they have and to understand what they can do to help themselves.

Tameside and Glossop Early Attachment Service

It’s vital that new mums who need mental health help are given support as the impact on the baby and childhood can be significant. The strategy sets out plans to increase access to specialist perinatal mental health support, in the community or in patient mother and baby units.

Tameside and Glossop early attachment service is jointly run by Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust and Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust. Different emotions, experiences and expectations around a new baby can affect how parents feel in themselves and how they feel about their baby. Support is provided within the home and community to promote positive parent and infant relationships, parental engagement and positive well- being. The service works with parents, babies and children, from pregnancy until the child’s fifth birthday. Support is provided at a universal level to targeted individual parent-infant relationships.

The Early Attachment Service brings together teams from maternity services, health visitors, Home Start (family support), hospital mother and baby units, adult mental health, family nursing, children’s social care and children’s centres. Teams help parents adjust to the early weeks of parenthood, support with feeding advice and later on, play. They also support those with special educational needs, disabilities and substance misuse as well as women who have their children removed or are at risk. There is a Dad Matters Project which supports new dads with their mental health needs and bonding with their children.   

New funding will be used to help expectant and new mums access specialist support, similar to that in Tameside and Glossop. By 2020/21, it is estimated that at least an additional 1,680 women will receive support.