More choice for better mental health [England]

People with mental health problems will have more choice over their treatment under new guidance published by the Department of Health. The document, 'Our Choices in Mental Health', sets out the national framework that will make more choice available locally to people who use mental health services in England.

More choice in mental health will give people:

  • Power to choose their own path through services and keep control over their lives;
  • Preferences to choose how, when, where and what treatments they receive;
  • Personalised services organised around their lifestyles.

The framework provides advice and information for service users and carers on the kind of choices they should expect to receive in the future and on how practitioners can extend the choices they offer in mental health services. The document also includes positive practice examples showing how these improvements are already being achieved in many areas.

Our Choices in Mental Health has been written in consultation with service users and carers and is one part of a package of information about choice in mental health.

Speaking as she launched the document at Newham Psychological Therapies Centre in east London, Rosie Winterton said:

"We want patients to be able to choose how, when and where to access help. We want them to be able to choose the treatment that best suits their needs and to access the support they need to keep or regain their independence. The guidance we are publishing today and our wider programme of work to provide greater choice will help to change this situation and really empower service users."

Other resources launched today include a checklist to help local communities in extending choice and a website (http://www.mhchoice.org.uk) providing on-line support.