Although mental health policy and practice across the four countries of the UK has moved forward very significantly over the last 15 years, mental health services still seem some way away from a clear and consistent vision as to the way forward — and a series of long-standing and complex problems remain. Arguably still underfunded compared to other parts of the NHS, mental health too often seems to be seen as a stand-alone and poorly understood area of policy and practice. From a recent period in which there was a stronger political will to improve mental health services, and a commitment of additional resources by which to achieve this, service developments in the coming years will have to be conceived and introduced within a challenging financial climate where total available funding across health and social care sectors may remain static or actually reduce in real terms.
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