Addressing Mental Health in United Kingdom

April 30, 2020

This comprehensive guide outlines how companies can be aware of how access, cost, coverage, stigma and other challenges vary in different markets, and highlights company strategies, country snapshots and resources that may be useful as they implement their programs around the world.

This section covers information about mental health stigma, access and treatment, and provides recommendations for employers and resources on NGOs/National Campaigns in United Kingdom.

About 25% of people in the U.K. will experience a mental health problem each year. In England, about 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem like anxiety or depression in any given week. Data from England and Wales show that only 1 in 8 receive treatment.62 Mental ill-health at work is the leading cause of sickness absence in the U.K. “In a recent survey two in five employees said that they had experienced a work related mental health issue in the last year while mental ill-health is estimated to cost an average of £1035 per employee per year.”63

Access and Treatment

  • The NHS is the primary care provider of mental health services in England.64
  • Services are free, but in some cases a referral from a general practitioner (GP) is required.65
  • Depending on the issue, severity and need, services are provided by GPs, large local health centers, specialist mental health clinics or hospitals.65

Snapshot of the Health System Landscape

health care workers 

Total mental health workers: 318.9 per 100,000 population.

Government is the primary source of funding for people to access mental health services.

*According to data submitted to the World Health Organization (2014)

  • The maximum wait time for all NHS consultant-led services is 18 weeks.65
  • Individuals can also choose to access private mental health treatment by using private medical insurance or paying out of pocket.
  • Non-NHS providers may sub-contract with NHS providers or be commissioned by Local Clinical Commissioning Groups, who are responsible for using a percentage of the health budget to purchase most services that are provided by secondary health care providers.
  • This allows local governments, commissioners and patients, where appropriate, to decide which providers are most qualified to provide certain community and mental health services.64

Learn More

In October 2014, the NHS England and the Department of Health jointly published Achieving Better Access to Mental Health Services by 2020.66 In 2016, an independent Mental Health Taskforce brought together health care leaders, people who use the services and experts in the field to create a Five Year Forward View for Mental Health. These reports and recommendations are all part of the NHS’s strategy to revamp and improve mental health services in the country, with access to high-quality services, choice of interventions, integrated physical and mental health care, prevention initiatives, funding and interventions to challenge stigma as top priorities for changes needed to the system by 2020.11

Addressing Mental Health in United Kingdom

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