Mental Health Policy Commission: Investing in a Resilient Generation

Looking beyond treatment to promoting mental health and well-being, the Commission has examined evidence from people with experience of mental distress, families, practitioners, communities, academics, and policy makers to form ground-breaking recommendations that will support a truly different approach and provide a strategic framework for mental health for the 21st Century.

Mental Health Policy Commission: Investing in a Resilient Generation
Download the full report (PDF - 14.51MB)Download the Executive Summary and Call to Action (PDF - 1.55MB)


Find out more about our Commission members and their backgrounds:

Paul Burstow

The Rt. Hon. Professor Paul Burstow is the Chair of the Mental Health Policy Commission at the University of Birmingham. A former public servant with over 25 years of experience, Professor Burstow was the Member of Parliament for Sutton and Cheam between 1997 and 2015. During his time in the House of Commons, Professor Burstow served as Minister of State for Care Services from 2010 to 2012 under the Coalition. While in post, he was responsible for developing the government's mental health strategy, 'No Health Without Mental Health', as well as crafting the legislation that later became the Care Act in 2014.

susanna-abse-230x230Susanna Abse is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist who has recently co-founded The Balint Consultancy.  She served as CEO of Tavistock Relationships from 2006 – 2016 where she worked extensively with successive governments on family policy with a particular focus on the inter-relationship between family relationships, mental health and children’s outcomes. She currently serves on the Executive Board of the British Psychoanalytic Council and is a Fellow of the Centre for Social Policy.

andy-bell-230x230Andy Bell is Deputy Chief Executive at Centre for Mental Health. Previously working for the King's Fund, he joined the Centre in 2002. He is a member of the Mental Health Policy Group and was chair of the Mental Health Alliance between 2006 and 2008. Andy has carried out research on the implementation of national mental health policies and on local mental health needs assessments. He writes a regular blog on mental health policy for the Huffington Post. 

dame-carol-black-230x230Professor Dame Carol Black is Principal of Newnham College Cambridge and Expert Adviser on Health and Work to NHS England and Public Health England. She chairs the Board of Think Ahead, the Government’s new fast-stream training programme for Mental Health Social Workers, and the RSSB’s Health and Wellbeing Policy Group. She is a member of the Welsh Government’s Parliamentary Review of Health and Social Care in Wales and Bevan Commission on health in Wales, the board of UK Active, Rand Europe’s Council of Advisers, PwC’s Health Industries Oversight Board, and the Advisory Board of Step up to Serve. 

tom-craig-230x230 Professor Thomas Jamieson-Craig is Emeritus Professor of Social & Community Psychiatry at King’s College, London Institute of Psychiatry, and the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. He qualified in medicine at the University of the West Indies and trained in psychiatry in Nottingham UK. His clinical research activities focus on developing and evaluating community-based psychiatric services and the promotion of these solutions at a National and International level. These programmes have included the development of residential alternatives to the hospital asylum, specialised services for homeless mentally ill people, supported employment and Clubhouse programmes, Early Intervention services for first episode psychosis and the SHARP (social inclusion, hope and recovery project) team. He is the immediate past president of the World Association for Social Psychiatry.

jacqui-dyer-230x230-2Jacqui Dyer was educated at London universities, where she completed post graduate research in decision-making within children’s’ social care services. Currently an independent health and social care consultant with a background in adult mental health commissioning as well as community and family social work. Jacqui is currently Senior Management Board Lived Experience Advisor for the Time To Change campaign, Member of the Ministerial Advisory Group for Mental Health, former Vice-Chair of the Mental Health Taskforce for England, Chair of Black Thrive, Member of Advisory Panel for Mental Health Act Review, and Co-Chair Mental Health Act Review African and Caribbean Working Group (MHARAC).

heather-henry-230x230Heather Henry is an independent nurse, Chair of the New NHS Alliance, and Queen’s Nurse who, over the last four years, has worked at the cutting edge of 21st century primary care, and has been named as one of the 48 most inspirational nurse leaders in the country. Heather was nominated by readers of Nursing Times and was selected by an independent panel of national nurse leaders in the four nations of the UK. Heather works in equal partnership with communities across the UK to build community spirit and help local people to help themselves.

cynthia-joyce-230x230Cynthia Joyce is Executive Director of MQ Foundation (USA), former Chief Executive of MQ: Transforming Mental Health (UK), and former Executive Director of the SMA Foundation and the American Academy of Neurology Foundation.

Commission Advisors

karen-newbigging-230x230Dr Karen Newbigging is a Senior Lecturer in the Health Services Management Centre and the Institute of Mental Health at the University of Birmingham and a member of the National Taskforce for Women’s Mental Health.

jerry-tew-230x230Professor Jerry Tew is Professor of Mental Health and Social Work in the School of Social Policy and the Institute for Mental Health at the University of Birmingham.

benjamin-costello-230x230Benjamin Costello is Research Associate in Mental Health and Doctoral Researcher and Teaching Associate in Philosophy at the University of Birmingham.

Call for evidence

The University of Birmingham Mental Health Commission has a simple hypothesis: we cannot simply scale-up existing models of treatment to meet the current level of mental health need. We have to change the paradigm from treatment and to prevention, early intervention, and sustainable recovery – and we have to shift resources accordingly.

It is this hypothesis that the Commission tested to devise a new agenda for action, taking a life-course approach, looking at the best of what works to reduce the prevalence of mental distress and how to support its adoption across the UK.

Our Call for Evidence ran from 9 February 2017 to 14 April 2017 and was an opportunity for individuals and organisations to showcase their research or innovation both to the Commission itself and to a wider audience when the Commission reported.

We were keen to hear from anyone with ideas and expertise to contribute, whether by personal experience or by profession. We sought practical examples, case studies, and insights in how best to implement promising approaches, as well as rigorous peer-reviewed research.

The Commission considered this evidence and our analysis of this evidence helped to shape our report.

Download the full call for evidence (PDF - 521Kb)

Press kit

Press release: Radical new preventative approach needed as figures reveal £1.77bn mental health treatment gap for young people

For more information, please contact Emma McKinney, Communications Manager (Health Sciences), University of Birmingham, Email:, tel: +44 (0)121 414 6681, or contact the press office  on +44 (0)7789 921 165.

Contact us 


VIDEO: Professor Paul Burstow 

The Chair of the Mental Health Policy Commission outlines the main recommendations of the report.


University of Birmingham Guild Officers Izzy and Jessica offer their thoughts on the policy commission.