There can be little doubt that the mental health sector is under pressure, however understanding the nature of those pressures has been difficult.
The mental health sector comprises a number of inter-related services covering a range of different conditions which together create a system of care. The briefing paper (below) created by The Kings Fund aims to focus on mental health as a system of care, examining individual pressures within the wider context of provider and commissioner actions. Although services for children and adolescents, and older people are very much part of this system of care, this briefing paper focuses on services for adults between the ages of 16 and 65.
In focusing on the pressures in mental health The Kings Fund have predominantly highlighted negative outcomes. This does not preclude that some pressures and actions have resulted in positive outcomes or that there are individual examples of good practice. Despite this there is little evidence that the pressures identified are only limited to specific areas of practice or individual providers, and many areas of pressure such as crisis care have been the subject of national focus and policy initiatives.