Supporting people with mental health conditions


Professor Maureen Baker

Chair, The PRSB
Date: 16 May 2019

As awareness about mental health conditions continues to increase, attitudes have shifted and more people than ever are seeking support.

According to the charity Mind, one in four people will experience a mental health problem each year. Anxiety and depression affects almost 8% of the population, while up to 20% will have suicidal thoughts at some point during their lifetime.

This is Mental Health Awareness Week and campaigners have been highlighting the need for improved access to care. To ensure that people are getting the support they need and the right pathways are being chosen, care professionals need to be armed with the right information about the people they’re caring for.

Discharge summaries
The PRSB standards aim to support people with mental health conditions, by ensuring that information held in a person’s digital care record is available to those who need access in a timely way. As well as ensuring professionals are able to provide the right care, sharing records digitally will help individuals to get access to their own information and support self- care and better engagement in care plans.

The mental health discharge summary standard, which was published by PRSB in 2017, describes what information about a person’s hospital stay should be shared digitally with a GP. With this information, the GP is in a better position to make sure that good follow up care in the community can be offered. For people living with mental health conditions, integration between services is essential, and that includes better integrated care that supports people’s physical and mental health care needs.

Personalised care
Involving people in their own care is important for everyone. Engaging people in their recovery plans helps them work with their care professionals and ensures that the services they are using are personalised to them. It also helps people to keep on top of activities that may be beneficial to their care, such as exercise routines or food diaries. Our digital care and support plan, published in 2018, has an ‘about me’ section, where a person can give vital information about themselves that they think is important for professionals to know. Even something as seemingly simple as a person’s preferred name
can get lost if it isn’t clearly highlighted. The about me section helps professionals to better understand the people they are supporting so they can deliver better, more tailored care.

We’ve also incorporated this ‘about me’ information into recommendations for what should be included as core information in local health and care records. At the moment, we are working with NHS England to determine what core information needs to be shared in local health and care records. The aim of the programme is to help local organisations move from today’s position, where each health and care organisation holds separate records for the individuals they care for, to one where an individual’s records are
connected up across the health and care system.

For people using mental health services, integration and information sharing is vital for safe and effective care. From simple things like helping to ensure a person feels at ease, to important information about medications, ensuring that the right data is available makes care better and safer.

Get in touch
If you are working in mental health or have ever had experience using services and you would like to get involved in our work, please contact All of our standards are developed in collaboration with professionals and people who use services and your views are very important to us.

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