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Specialised Services National Definition Set: 22 Specialised mental health (adult)

  • Last modified date:
    8 February 2007

The vast majority of people who experience mental health problems will be able to receive appropriate treatment for their needs within their local community services. Some people however, have such serious or complex needs that these will best be met by specialised mental health services where they will have access to staff with particular expertise.

This definition identifies 10 services that should be regarded as specialised mental health services. These services will need to be undertaken through collective planning arrangements and take into account the needs of a planning population considerably larger than that of a single primary care trust.

Even though each section focuses on one particular service - e.g. addiction services, many people will have more than one need and may need to access more than one specialised service or at least have access to people working across mental health specialties and across other general health services. For example, a pregnant woman with a mental health problem may also be suffering from an addiction; she may need the skills of addiction services as well as support from high risk pregnancy services and she may also require help in a mother and baby unit following the birth.

Specialised mental health services, like other health services, should be treating patients in the context of a confirmed evidence base. Research and development will also be an important part of all specialised services. Given the wide range of people accessing these services it is important that all mental health services are sensitive to the needs of people from all ethnic backgrounds.

Mental health services are currently a national priority and the subject of a recent National Service Framework. The philosophy of care set out in the NSF should underpin the commissioning of all mental health services whether specialised or non-specialised. The specialised services covered by this definition are shown in the table below.

The specialised services covered by this definition are:

I Tertiary Eating Disorder Services
II Neuropsychiatry
III Forensic Services
IV Specialised Mental Health Services for Deaf People* (currently defined as a service for all ages)  * Note: this element covers all ages
V Specialised Addiction Services
VI Specialist Psychological Therapies - Inpatient and Specialised Outpatient**
** Note: Family Psychotherapy and Adolescent Psychotherapy is currently in Specialised Services for Children - Definition No. 23
VII Gender Identity Disorder
VIII Perinatal Psychiatric Services (Mother and Baby Units)
IX Complex and/or Treatment Resistant Disorders
X Asperger's Syndrome

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