An “aspirational” strategy setting out the next 10 years of mental health policy has been welcomed despite a lack of detail on how it will be achieved.

The Department of Health’s New Horizons consultation focuses on prevention and calls for mental health to be prioritised alongside physical problems.

The “new cross-government vision” says there will be more collaboration between Whitehall departments and local organisations such as schools, local authorities and the NHS.

By 2020, “psychological and family treatments will be available to all who could benefit from them”, it states.

In addition, “the stigma surrounding mental health will have declined dramatically” and “all individuals will be treated with respect in an inclusive society, whatever their age, background or circumstances”.

The strategy replaces the 1999 national service framework for mental health, which it says “introduced radical and widespread changes”.

It was backed up by an extra £1.7bn a year, but new service improvements must be self financing, the document says.

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Andrew McCulloch said New Horizons embraced the principles of a report by the Future Vision Coalition, made up of charities and experts.

But he said: “As well as being aspirational, it needs to be made crystal clear how we get there.

“We want to see the implementation strategy because the national service framework was followed by the NHS plan, targets and money, that’s why it was successful.”

Care Services Minister Phil Hope told HSJ the consultation was “a very real chance for commissioners, mental health workers and people affected by mental health problems to contribute to a dynamic and rich new mental health strategy”.

Key themes

  • Prevention and public mental health
  • Tackling stigma
  • Early intervention
  • Personalised care
  • Collaboration
  • Innovation
  • Value for money
  • Strengthening the transition from child to adult services