Primary care mental health

The vast majority of people with mental health problems who get treatment for their mental health are seen within primary care, with 90 per cent of people receiving the treatment and care solely in primary care settings” (Mind).

Providing high-quality mental health care in primary care, including GP practices, can make a big difference for service users, carers and professionals involved in their care.  Receiving mental healthcare in a GP practice or other primary care setting can be less stigmatising for service users, compared with a hospital or specialist service: an individual’s mental health needs can be seen as a long-term condition requiring ongoing primary care support, much like diabetes or respiratory conditions.  Physical and mental health can be treated in the same place, resulting in more joined-up care that is better for patients and more cost-effective.

Making better use of primary care for mental health means specialist mental health services are more available to people who really need. There will be shorter waiting time for treatment and a clear pathway to primary care services when their health improves.  This can be part of a positive recovery plan where people are supported as they move from specialist to primary care.

We are working with the London Mental Health Clinical Network on a set of guiding principles for CCGs and GPs for developing and improving mental healthcare in primary care.  These will explore and share learning from current mental health care models in primary care. GP clinical leads across London are involved along with service users from Mind and local representatives.

We have already completed a scoping exercise to understand current developments in primary care mental health models across the capital. We found CCGs in London are at various stages of developing and rolling out mental health care models in primary care. There are many new initiatives where specialist and primary care staff are working together with community-based organisations for a more holistic, enhanced primary care mental health offer.

Download the literature review and scoping report from our resources area