Think local act personal Personalised, coordinated care in mental health services should consider "who I am, what's important to me, how I wish to be supported and how people behave with me", according to a new resource.

‘No Assumptions - A Narrative for Personalised, Coordinated Care and Support in Mental Health’, by Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) and National Voices, describes the critical outcomes and success factors in the care, support and treatment of people who use mental health services, from their perspective.

This is intended to help NHS and council commissioners and service providers to organise person-centred care and recovery-oriented support for mental and physical health and to know when they are achieving it.

It was commissioned and endorsed by NHS England, and will be shared with the 13 other organisations in the integrated care and support collaborative, including the Department of Health, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), the Local Government Association and the health and social care regulators.

‘No Assumptions’ has been co-produced with people who have lived experience of mental illness from TLAP's National Co-production Advisory Group, together with organisations including the National Survivor User Network, Mind, Rethink Mental Illness and Certitude. It includes a number of case studies that show how good personalised, coordinated care in mental health services can be achieved around England.

National clinical director for mental health, Geraldine Strathdee, welcomed the resource, describing it as a “must read” for those who commission or deliver mental health services. "People with lived experience of mental ill health tell us what fundamentally matters to them, and the type of collaborative, empowering, effective and safe care they want,” she said. “As we have seen this past year, there is no more powerful advocacy for mental health care in England than the voice of users telling us about their experiences and how they manage full lives while living with mental health conditions.”

Sarah Norman, joint chair of the ADASS mental health network, added: "Both the guidelines and case studies will be really useful in helping commissioners, service managers and mental health professionals make sure that services are more responsive to the concerns and aspirations of people with mental health needs." 

Geoff Heyes, policy and campaigns manager at Mind, said he was hopeful that ‘No Assumptions’ would bring change to mental health services. "Too often we hear from people who experience disjointed care across primary, secondary mental and physical health services and social care. Facing multiple assessments with different health professionals can be very disruptive and negatively impact an individual's mental health. Through these publications we hope that service providers and commissioners will be better able to commission high-quality, coordinated services in consultation with service users, ensuring their individual needs are taken into consideration."

National Coproduction Advisory Group member and TLAP co-chair, Clenton Farquharson, added: "People are the best integrators of their care and support but they can often feel that the divisions between health and social care negatively impact their experience. It is vital health and social care organisations work together to deliver a seamless, person-centred service directed by the individual and No Assumptions can help with this."