The National Institute for Mental Health in England is being scrapped and replaced with a new agency to oversee the implementation of mental health policies.

The national mental health development unit starts work on 1 April and will be headed by Ian McPherson, former NIMHE director.

Care services minister Phil Hope said: “New Horizons and the Darzi review mean we must actively promote public mental health and wellbeing, as well as spreading best practice and maintaining world class mental health services everywhere.

“The national mental health development unit will help us do this.”

The change follows a review of mental health service delivery, taking into account the next stage review and the need for more personalised services. 


Strategic health authorities will oversee local and regional delivery of policies, while the new unit will co-ordinate projects such as:

  • improving access to talking therapies;
  • promoting equalities in mental health services for different groups, based on race, gender and age;
  • promoting social inclusion and social justice for people with mental health problems;
  • promoting well being and mental health for the whole population; and
  • supporting effective mental health commissioning.  

Next generation of policies

National director of mental health services Louis Appleby said: “The national institute for mental health demonstrated the importance of having a national body to help care for our mental health.

“Mental health care reform is as important as ever and I look forward to working with the national mental health development unit in supporting the delivery of the next generation of mental health policies.”