Mental health services in UK are “model” for Europe, says WHO regional adviser

Mental health services in the UK are a “model” for the rest of Europe, the regional adviser for mental health at the World Health Organisation has said.

In an interview with the Guardian, Matt Muijen pointed out that the UK has a higher mental health spend as a proportion of total health funding than other countries (5.5% is the European average versus 11-13% in the UK)

“There is so much money [in England] in mental health,” said Muijen.

“The story I’m not telling here is that everything is perfect in England and it is awful everywhere else,” he said.

“But what has surprised me is the leadership role of England in Europe. What we are not aware of in England is to what extent we are the model for Europe.”

Before joining the World Health Organisation two-and-a-half years ago Muijen was chief executive of the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health charity.

Muijen said of England that “no other country has a standardised form of care” that spans community teams, outreach, early intervention, rehabilitation teams or a range of residential settings. The number of active user groups in England is also ahead of other countries, he added.

Muijen said of the shift in treatment towards community care: “The whole quality control in that process, the roll out, the acceptance by practitioners, has really been very impressive. I think, in retrospect, it was handled very well.”

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