Today the Centre Forum Commission for Mental health published its report, ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’, which examined the Government’s ‘No Health without Mental health’ strategy. The Commission looked in depth at the state of mental health in England to identify the changes required to reduce suffering in the next five to ten

years. The commission was led by Paul Burstow MP.

As a member of the commission, Chair of IMHSA, Dr Alison Rose Quirie, was joined by experts from across the mental health field, including chief executives of mental health charities Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, and Turning Point, the outgoing president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Chair of a Mental Health Trust.

The Commission calls for parity of funding for mental health which currently receives 13% of NHS spend in England but accounts for 23% of demand. This funding gap is set against a backdrop of a 2% funding cut in real terms spending in mental health services over the last two years and 0.3% greater efficiency savings.

Chair of IMHSA, Dr Alison Rose Quirie, said:

“This report has the potential to be a catalyst for real change in how society approaches mental health. The overarching goal of achieving parity of esteem is central to the report’s recommendations which set tangible goals to drive the momentum to change lives.

“Ensuring that mental health is taught as part of the national curriculum, having a dedicated role for mental health on Health and Wellbeing boards and placing mental health at the centre of government policy are just some of the examples of the Commission’s recommendations to drive this change.

“Creating a dedicated Cabinet-level minister with responsibility for mental health would also bring clear political focus and accountability to deliver on the strategy. IMSHA looks forward to working with partners across the sector to deliver the report’s recommendations and make parity of esteem a reality.”




Notes to Editors:


1. For more information, please contact Lindsay McCallum at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or

on 0207 227 16401 or 07432 676 635

2. Chaired by former minister for mental health, Paul Burstow MP, the CentreForum Mental Health

Commission concluded its 12 month study on the state of wellbeing in England by identifying five key

priorities between now and 2020.

It calls on policymakers to:

  • Establish the mental wellbeing of the nation or the “pursuit of happiness” as a clear and measurable goal of government.
  • Roll out a National Wellbeing Programme to promote mutual support, self-care and recovery, and reduce the crippling stigma that too often goes hand in hand with mental ill health.
  • Prioritise investment in the mental health of children and young people right from conception.
  • Make places of work mental health friendly with government leading the way as an employer.
  • Better equip primary care to identify and treat mental health problems, closing the treatment gap that leaves one in four of the adult population needlessly suffering from depression and anxiety and 1-2% of the adult population experiencing a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia.

3. IMHSA is a leading group of eleven independent mental health service providers representing over 90% of the independent sector. Members include The Ansel Group, Care UK, Cygnet, Huntercombe, Partnerships in Care, Priory Group, Alpha Hospitals, The Retreat, In Mind, Glencare and St Andrew’s.