How to commission services that help prevent severe ill health?

We know that investing in improving the life chances and circumstances of everyone, particularly those at higher risk, can bring real benefits. Some examples of good practice in early intervention and promotion of wellbeing can be found in the JCP guidance (Volume One: Practical mental health commissioning).

Guidance on the provision of primary care services for people with mental health problems has been published by the Joint Commissioning Panel for Mental Health. This sets out the evidence concerning how to intervene early to prevent more complex problems from developing.

In addition, effective early intervention services (Early Intervention Teams) are commonly provided in secondary (specialised) care. The evidence suggests that commissioners in both NHS and local authorities can develop cost-effective services to support mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention.

Help to understand your local population needs – for example, the numbers of young people you might expect to develop a psychotic illness, or the numbers with a common mental health problem such as depression, which may become more severe.