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Women's Mental Health : Into the Mainstream

  • Launch date:
    1 October 2002
  • Closing date:
    31 December 2002
  • Creator/s:
    Department of Health
  • Audience:
    Health and social care professionals
  • Copyright holder:
    Crown

The Government is taking a wide-ranging approach to tackle the inequalities that persist in our society. Inequalities that, in most cases, still affect more women than men.

On 12 June 2003 Patricia Hewitt, then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and Minister for Women, launched the Government's report 'Delivering on Gender Equality' which highlights the variety of initiatives that are being taken across Government to tackle issues around gender and to raise standards for everyone.

This Implementation Guidance on mainstreaming gender and women's mental health contributes to this broad approach in a key clinical priority area. It will help those planning and delivering mental health services to understand better what is meant by being 'sensitive to the needs of women' and ensure that women feel better served by the mental health care system in terms of their individual experience.

There has been overwhelming support for this initiative. We have received key messages about the need to listen to and involve women in planning and delivering services. We have been urged to take extra measures to tackle long-standing issues such as the impact of violence and abuse on women's mental health.

Understanding the needs of women - both as service users and in the workforce - requires cultural change. This can only be achieved through the increased involvement of the public, staff, service users and carers and through a partnership approach to service delivery. We hope that this guidance will help make the changes needed to improve quality and choice in mental health services.

The aim of this consultation document is to provide information, to generate discussion, and to outline a direction to help achieve a mainstream approach to gender in mental health service organisation and delivery. It covers services for adults of working age, in line with the Mental Health National Service Framework. Many of the principles, however, are relevant to all age groups and to men as well as women.

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