Mental health service users want more choice of treatment and support, says new research

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Mental health service users want more choices about the care they receive and better support to help them make those choices, according to research published today by the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health and The King's Fund.

Choice in Mental Health Care finds that mental health and learning disability service users would like more opportunities to choose between different treatment, care and support options. They want to be involved in care planning, to have the option of direct payments and to be consulted about changes to local services.

Choice in Mental Health Care is based upon research with mental health service users and their carers. It found that some get more choices than others but that most do not get enough information to make informed treatment choices.

Lesley Warner, co-author of the report, said:

'People who use mental health services clearly want more choice about the treatment they get. They want to choose between different kinds of treatment and to have the option of talking therapies or different kinds of medication. Such choices are an important starting point to help people to recovery.'

Simon Lawton-Smith, The King's Fund mental health fellow, said:

'Choice is one of the government's big drivers in reforming the NHS. We need to ensure that the benefits that genuinely informed choice can bring are available to people who use mental health services. Most people with a mental disorder can make decisions for themselves but very often they are offered little or no choice about their care and treatment.'

Notes to editors

  1. is a summary of research carried out by the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health and the King’s Fund, commissioned by the Department of Health as part of its Choice Themed Review. The briefing and full report can be downloaded from the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health website.
  2. For all media enquiries please contact Andy Bell on 020 7827 8353 or 07810 503638.
  3. The King’s Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through funding. We are a major resource to people working in health and social care, offering leadership development programmes; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.