Some of the most dramatic -- and most needed -- change in the health service in its 50-year history has been in the field of mental health. In 1948, remote asylums represented 'services' for people with serious mental illness. Conditions in these bleak institutions often owed more to their Victorian heritage than anything which should have any place in a modern health service.
Over the last 50 years much has been achieved to develop genuine care for mentally ill people outdated institutions have been closed, services now strive to care for people as individuals and mental health issues are being brought out of the shadows.
But there is still much to do and the 50th Anniversary of the NHS is an opportunity to take stock -- to remember the past and its lessons, and to look forward and imagine the future.
In a wide ranging initiative sponsored by Lilly, professionals and the public alike will have a chance to take a new look at mental health issues in 1998.
In a series of debates under the title, 'Mental Health - The Next 50 Years', staff and users of mental health services will explore the key issues that will shape mental health services of the future. Drawing contributions from some of the key stakeholders in mental health in the 1990s, the debates will take place at locations across the country, including the NHS 50 International Conference at Earls Court in July. The themes and findings of the debates will be drawn together in time for publication at the annual mental health awards in October which recognise the best
of practice in mental health services.
The public will be invited to take a new look at mental health through an interactive exhibition to be launched at the Ideal Health Show. It will encourage people to take a broader look at 'health' and the factors that can affect their own sense of well being for example how they cope with the pressures and strains of life, what they do with their leisure time, how they handle their relationships with others and react with their surroundings.
For further information contact:
Delia Shinkwin, NHS Executive. Tel: 0113 254 5645
Roger Hudson, Lilly. Tel: 01256 315291