This section provides background information and links to resources that support better integration of mental and physical healthcare for people with serious mental illness.

Planning to integrate mental and physical health

The serious mental illness (SMI) mortality gap and the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and outcome gaps that contribute to it represent a whole system failure.

Implementing sustainable change to improve physical health outcomes for those living with SMI is challenging. Fortunately the NHS Five Year Forward View focuses on prevention, integration of mental and physical health and new models of care, and provides an ideal opportunity for change.

New integrated care systems in London will take collective responsibility for financial and operational performance in the NHS. They present an opportunity to take a system-wide approach to improving outcomes. The evidence for integrating physical and mental health services is compelling. NHS planning guidance 2018-19 is clear that areas with the ambition to be integrated care systems will need to plan to integrate services, including primary care and mental health.

Achieving parity of esteem will involve the integration of mental health in physical health pathways and of physical health in mental health pathways. The needs of those living with SMI can only then be expertly and routinely met.

Recommended actions

We have developed key recommendations that will support system change and effectively address the serious mental illness mortality gap. Follow the links for more information and tools to support you:

Tools to use

NHS Planning guidance 2018-19: Refreshing NHS Plans for 2018/19

NHS England’s Five Year Forward View: Integrating care locally: Next steps for STPs and Accountable Care Systems.

The Kings Fund – Bringing together physical and mental health: A new frontier for integrated care. This resource highlights service user perspectives and opportunities for integrated physical and mental health care.



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