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Mental Health

Counselling Waiting List Initiative

PHAST worked in collaboration with a London PCT to identify the extent of the counselling waiting list and put in place arrangements to clear the waiting list effectively. The objectives set by the PCT were to define the counselling waiting lists; make arrangements for the counselling waiting lists to be cleared and for these sessions to be paid for by a given deadline, to establish a monitoring framework for this work and to ensure that the way in which these arrangements are made supports the future planned changes for counselling services within the area. 

Suicide Prevention Strategy

Developing a suicide prevention strategy for a London PCT. The objectives were to reduce the likelihood and opportunities for people to commit suicide by promoting mental health and wellbeing, increasing awareness, providing earlier intervention and to reduce the availability and lethality of means of suicide.

Mental Health Needs Assessment

Effective commissioning decisions which deliver improved health outcomes for patients with mental illness require a foundation of authoritative evidence. PHAST provided a PCT in East England with evidence based commissioning policy recommendations following a mental health needs assessment of their population.

The project aimed to determine the mental health needs of the population based on epidemiological evidence, present existing evidence for best practice and cost effective prevention, treatment and care for mental illness and provide commissioning policy recommendations.

The project allowed the PCT to recognise that the need for mental health services is likely to increase in line with the projected population increase and that local mental health promotion could play a limited part in improving the mental health of the population. 

Based on these findings, PHAST recommended developing primary mental health care with increased staff training, enhanced involvement of community mental health teams and a review of specialist counselling services. The development of mental health promoting interventions for which there is a reasonable evidence base was also recommended.

PHAST highlighted the need to monitor the process of streamlining referral and care pathways. Further recommendations included the enhancement of community development work in mental health and the development of a mental health commissioning support model to support future changes in mental health services.

Epidemiological health care needs assessment for Tier 4 services for adults with personality disorders

PHAST was commissioned by a group of stakeholders on behalf of PCT's across London to provide epidemiological estimates of need for Tier 4 Personality Disorder (PD) treatment bed services in four NHS regions, to support the strategic planning & commissioning of services. The project had three clear objectives:

  • To provide understanding of the epidemiology of diagnosable PD patients.
  • To estimate the number of PD patients in need of non-secure Tier 4 in-patient services.
  • To inform strategies to develop, redesign, and commission the required service capacity in appropriate locations.

Mental Health Needs Assessment

The commissioning PCT's five year strategy has a commitment to develop mental health services underpinned by an assessment of need and provision and built on authoritative evidence. The Director of Public Health and the commissioning manager for mental health required decisions about delivers of the service to be informed by a comprehensive needs assessment of the whole population with three strands: geographical information mapping, improving equality of access, and mental health promotion and well-being.

PHAST was asked to determine the mental health needs of residents of the PCT at the locality level and the relation of need to current service provision, based on available local national and epidemiological evidence; to present existing evidence for best practice and cost effective prevention, treatment and care for mental health problems and to develop mental health service commissioning policy recommendations and to produce a policy report.


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