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Care not containment: Setting a radical vision for transforming mental health support

7 March 2019

About the report

Care not containment is an independent report developed by an expert group to explore how mental health services could be changed to reduce the reliance on restrictive environments and shift to earlier interventions. The Centre is pleased to be hosting the report on behalf of the group.

The report has profound and wide ranging implications for mental health policy nationally and for the commissioning and development of services locally. The Centre endorses the report’s conclusions and we hope it will stimulate more debate and bring about change in the support people experience.

Report summary

Every year we commit vast resources – hundreds of millions of pounds – to the treatment of people within institutional settings. At their best, these stays can represent high quality, targeted interventions in support of recovery – at worst, they can represent long term containment and a denial of human rights.

We have come together to make the case for a rethink of where emphasis is placed and money invested in mental health care. We welcome the recent publication of the Long Term Plan for the NHS and the emphasis which it places upon the importance of investment in mental health. This paper is our constructive contribution to ensure that the NHS makes the most of the resources available by using every penny committed most effectively by providing services in the right place, at the right time, early on.

Alongside extra funding, we call for an approach which focuses on providing preventative and proactive support to aid recovery and independent living in the community, reducing demand and moving emphasis away from the need for more hospital beds.

An enlightened approach focused on care rather than containment will transform the wellbeing of people who experience ill health, uphold their dignity and human rights, and mark a turning point in the mission to end the treatment of people with mental ill health as second class citizens.

List of contributors

  • Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP
  • Dr Alex Stirzaker – Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Former National Advisor to NHS England SMI IAPT
  • Sarah Hughes – Chief Executive, Centre for Mental Health
  • Andy Bell – Deputy Chief Executive, Centre for Mental Health
  • Sue Sibbald – Peer Specialist Personality Disorder, Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • David Gilbert – Mental health service user; Director, InHealth Associates
  • Dr Warren Larkin – Consultant Clinical Psychologist; Visiting Professor, University of Sunderland; Director, Warren Larkin Associates
  • Prof Richard Byng – GP, Professor of Primary Care Research, researcher in primary care mental health
  • Veronica Kamerling – Proprietor, Eating Disorders & Carers
  • Dr Sheraz Ahmad – Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director City and Hackney, East London NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dr Susan Mizen – Devon Partnership NHS Trust
  • Dr Matthew Patrick – Chief Executive, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dr Caroline Dollery – Clinical Director, East of England Mental Health Clinical Network; Member of NHSCC Mental Health Steering Group
  • Dr Geraldine Strathdee CBE – Consultant Psychiatrist; former National Clinical Director for Mental Health
  • Phil Moore – Chair, NHS Mental Health Commissioners Network


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