On 5 July 2018, the National Health Service turns 70. Since 1948, the service has sought to supply care which is free at the point of delivery, based on need rather than whether people could afford to pay. This was in many ways a dramatic departure from previous models. But what of the role of mental health care within this vision?

Society’s perception of mental health, and how to care for people in distress, have in many ways been transformed. But we’re patently aware of how much more change is needed to truly provide the mental health care people need, when they need it.

To mark 70 years of the NHS, we’ve gathered a range of perspectives to reflect on the role of mental health care within the NHS past, present and future. We’re celebrating all the NHS has achieved. But we’re also looking at what needs to change to ensure the vision behind the NHS – everyone receiving the care they need – becomes a reality for mental health.

If you're interested in contributing a perspective for this series, get in touch with Alethea at alethea.cope@centreformentalhealth.org.uk

Last updated 09/12/2018

A long way to equality

Norman Lamb MP on some of the recent triumphs and failings of the NHS in mental health


The NHS at 70: A mental health worker at 60

Jonathan Wells looks back at the decades of change in mental health care from his perspective as a social worker


Fighting for a better system: why celebrating NHS 70 must spur further change

Thea reflects on her ambivalence about today's NHS celebrations


Drawing hope from our journey so far

Tom Cahill looks back at how delivery of mental health care within the NHS has changed since his days as a mental health nurse


The road less travelled

To mark 70 years of the NHS, Professor Dame Sue Bailey asks what's needed to bring about a sustainable approach to health


Avoiding breaking point? The role of public mental health within the NHS

Lisa McNally argues that the system-wide problems facing the NHS require a system-wide solutions


The NHS at 70: recapturing Bevan’s founding principles to reach the most marginalised

Nuwan reflects on the transformation of mental health services, and how we can harness growing discontent to bring about lasting change


What a mental health nurse did for me

Hope looks back at her time battling anorexia and the vital role of the NHS in her recovery


Bunting and broken promises: rediscovering a vision for the NHS at 70

In the first of our new series marking 70 years of the NHS, Mark Brown asks about the place of mental health within NHS pride and nostalgia