An HSJ roundtable, sponsored by XenZone, looked at the advantages of early intervention, increasing primary prevention and the role of digital in improving outcomes

Read the detailed report of the roundtable here

In association withXenZone_logo

The evidence shows that early intervention in the event of mental ill health makes a tremendous difference. So how can the NHS ensure it is consistently delivering that sort of support, within community settings, benefitting both individual patients and families and the system more broadly? That was the main question discussed at a recent HSJ roundtable debate, run in association with XenZone.

A group of expert panellists, drawn from across the country and from a variety of perspectives, agreed that partnership would be crucial to effecting a widespread shift to early treatment. They suggested that this could also support a move to primary prevention of mental health difficulties – not merely helping people once they start to have symptoms of mental illness, but preventing such a situation developing in the first place.

Key, our experts suggested, is to develop new kinds of environments in which individuals feel more comfortable in seeking out support. Could that perhaps include digital spaces? Many panellists felt so, urging a consideration of the means by which virtual support can make a difference – while acknowledging that it cannot and should not replace face-to-face support by specialist professionals.


  • Andy Bell, deputy chief executive, Centre for Mental Health
  • Zoe Blake, chief executive, XenZone
  • Nicola Byrne, chief clinical information officer and deputy medical director, South London and Maudsley Foundation Trust
  • Sarah Dracass, consultant psychiatrist in early intervention in psychosis and clinical director for adult mental health, Tower Hamlets, East London FT
  • Gordon King, director of mental health, Northamptonshire Healthcare FT
  • Sir Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk, chair science and technology select committee, Liberal Democrat spokesperson on health, former minister for care and support
  • Julia Manning, chief executive, 2020health
  • Alison Moore, HSJ (roundtable chair) 
  • Emma Thomas, chief executive, YoungMinds
  • Dominique Thompson, consultant on student mental health, Buzz Consulting