Every part of England has signed up to the Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat and almost all areas have finalised a detailed action plan for how they will improve support for people who are in mental health crisis.
The Concordat is an agreement between services and agencies involved in the care and support of people in crisis and an individual Concordat has been put in place for each of 152 local areas in England. All local areas pledged their support for the Concordat by the end of 2014 and, to date, 147 have developed, agreed and submitted their action plans, which have been checked and approved by mental health charity Mind. The remaining 5 areas have drafted plans and have been asked by Mind to make final improvements.
The Concordat was introduced by Minister for Care and Support Norman Lamb in February 2014 and is signed by 22 national bodies involved in health, policing, social care, housing, local government and the third sector. The Concordat focuses on four main areas: access to support before crisis point; urgent and emergency access to crisis care; quality of treatment and care when in crisis; and recovery and staying well.
Following the national commitment, every local area was tasked with making their own declaration and developing an action plan, which is signed by a minimum of 8 core services and organisations including clinical commissioning groups, mental health trusts, ambulance trusts, police and local authorities. Each action plan is publicly available online at www.crisiscareconcordat.org.uk.
Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: “There has been a huge collective effort by hundreds of different services and agencies across the public and third sectors to pledge to improve support for people who are at their most unwell and to work out the detail of how this will happen. We are really pleased to have seen such an overwhelming commitment from all sides to putting an end to this.
“We must now see these plans turned into action. For too long people with mental health problems have had to put up with an emergency response that is inferior to that which we all take for granted when we have a physical health emergency. Over a million people use specialist mental health services every year, a number that is growing and growing as increasing numbers seek support. Countless more suffer in silence or try to access help but don’t get what they need. We lose 4,500 people to suicide in England every year.
“The Concordat has the potential to transform the support for people in crisis and to dramatically affect the experiences and recovery of people with mental health problems. We know that where excellent crisis care exists, it saves lives. Local health services, local authorities, the criminal justice system and voluntary organisations must deliver a joined-up service and learn from each other to truly provide the best possible care.”