Young Asian man working in healthcare is sat at a group meeting

Building a mental health workforce for the future

10 April 2024

Expanding the workforce to meet the growing mental health needs of the population is one of the major challenges the NHS faces today. But we don’t just need a bigger mental health workforce. We need a workforce for the services of the future, which may look quite different to what we have now.

Drawing from a roundtable on the mental health workforce, co-hosted by Centre for Mental Health, Mind and the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network, this briefing highlights the challenges facing the NHS as it seeks to implement its Long Term Workforce Plan. By bringing together people from across the health and care system, representing different professions and organisations, as well as lived experience, we were able to look at how transforming the workforce can be achieved in practice.

As well as the ambitions for expansion included in the Long Term Workforce Plan, this briefing explores the need to transform the ways people are trained, employed and enabled to flourish in their jobs and careers. Truly meeting the mental health needs of the nation will require a workforce that reaches beyond its traditional boundaries, with a more diverse range of roles and skills and better representation of the communities it serves. It will also require action to support staff wellbeing and bolster staff retention.

Developing the workforce is at the heart of closing gaps in treatment, quality, equity and life expectancy in mental health care. Building a mental health workforce for the future sets out how we can grow and diversify the workforce and ensure that high-quality mental health support is available to all who need it in the years to come.

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