Mental health


This is Malik. He is 39 and was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was 21.

He lives in his own flat with support coming in regularly. He works part time in a local business, helping with the accounts and other office work. 

Malik does not find it easy to eat healthily or exercise regularly. In addition, the medication he takes for his mental illness, caused him to put on weight and as a result, he has recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

There are a range of different health, social care and voluntary sector professionals involved in Malik’s day-to-day support. They all work together as part of integrated team and safely share appropriate information to take fast and effective treatment decisions.

Without having to travel far from home, Malik is receiving support to improve his diet, quit smoking, do more exercise. He was supported to find some volunteering work, which led to his current paid job. All of this helps Malik to feel confident managing his diabetes and his mental illness.

Malik can now recognise the early signs that his mental health may be deteriorating, as can those involved in his care, and they know what to do to get him the right help. He has access to a community bases crisis team and if needed they visit him at home, meaning he doesn't have to end up in hospital, which he has found distressing in the past.

Everyone should have their mental and physical health needs treated equally and get the best possible care.

Case for change

Treating mental and physical health equally

One in four people will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime and the cost of mental ill health to the economy, NHS and society is £105bn a year.

People with mental health problems receive poorer physical health care, and in south east London serious mental illness reduces a person’s life expectancy by 15-20 years.

Someone with serious mental illness is also three times more likely to attend A&E and almost five times more likely to be admitted as an emergency.

Thirty per cent of people with a long-term condition also suffer from poor mental health. People with severe mental illness do not always get the best care for their physical health needs.

Nationally, one in five mothers suffers from mental health problems during pregnancy or in the first year after childbirth. Yet fewer than 15% of areas have the necessary perinatal mental health services and more than 40% provide none at all.

Half of all mental health problems have been established by the age of 14, rising to 75 per cent by the age of 24.  

We also recognise the importance of employment to people with mental ill health. There is evidence that many people with severe mental health have reported that employment is a key factor in helping with their recovery. Therefore we are creating more opportunities for people with severe mental illness to gain and maintain paid employment when they choose to do so. The support is based on an individual’s career preferences, aspirations and life goals and is offered for as long as a person needs it

Our vision

We want to stop treating the mind and body separately. We want our services to asses and treat mental health disorders or conditions on a par with physical illnesses.


  • We are working to develop a consistent approach to recognise and support people with mental health needs. More screening and ensuring timely access to evidence-based care is essential.

Integrated care

  • We want mental health services to become more integrated in all our health and care services.

Perinatal mental health

  • In south east London we want all women to have access to perinatal mental health services.

Easier and faster access to crisis mental health services

  • We are working to make sure there is access to mental health support and liaison teams for people of all ages in our A&E departments 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • We also want to make it easier to access community based crisis response teams and intensive home treatment as an alternative to hospital.

People who need inpatient care

  • We want to make sure that if someone is in crisis, they can access a health-based place of safety - somewhere where mental health professionals can assess a person's needs and work out the best next steps.


Read more about the changes we want to make to help more people feel like Malik.