Photograph of box NHS National Institute for Mental Health in England
* mental health questions? ask NIMHE
* *
* * *
Service Users and Carers
News and Events
Work Streams
» Acute Inpatient Care
» Anti Stigma and Discrimination
» Booking & Choice
» Black & Minority Ethnic Mental Health
» Child and Adolescent Mental Health
» Communications
» Community Teams
» Gender and Women's Mental Health
» Making Partnerships Work (VSC)
» Mental Health Improvement Partnership
» Mental Health Promotion
» Older People's Mental Health
» Partnership with Pharmaceutical Industry
» Primary Care
» Prison Mental Health
»  Research & Development
» Social Care
» Social Inclusion
» Substance Misuse
» Suicide Prevention
» Values Implementation Project
» Workforce
Networks and Groups
Information Resources
Your Local NIMHE

Gender and Women's Mental Health Foundation Programme

Programme Introduction and Overview

The National Women’s Mental Health Strategy was developed in recognition that the needs of women service users were not being adequately addressed. Alongside the Race Equality Framework, it represents an essential element of DoH policy to tackle inequalities. It is not the intention to focus on the needs of women, at the expense of men, but to ensure equality of service delivery for all.

Gender and Women’s Mental Health: Implementation Guidance, which was greatly informed by the prior consultation, outlines a series of aims, recommended actions and expected outcomes to:

  • develop a gendered context for mental health and social care – across research, planning, commissioning, service organisation and delivery;
  • deliver distinct high quality services for women service users.

It includes advice and resources to assist with implementation, examples of ‘good practice’ and DoH actions to facilitate this process.

Core Messages of the Guidance

  • develop gender sensitive services taking account of gender differences in women and men
  • listen to what women are saying they want and need;
  • take full account of the causes and context of women's mental health in addition to addressing their symptoms;
  • ensure that women are kept safe in mental health services;
  • increase the number and range of women-only services ie acute inpatient care, crisis and respite houses, community day services and secure services;
  • acknowledge and address the high prevalence and impact of violence and abuse - child sexual abuse, domestic violence and sexual violence (outside the home) - on women's mental health;
  • improve services for specific groups of women: those who are from black and minority ethnic communities, who are mothers, who are offenders with mental ill health, who self-harm, have a personality disorder, have a dual diagnosis with substance misuse, have peri-natal mental ill health and who experience eating disorders with detailed service specifications for women-only community day services and secure mental health services.  

The Foundation Programme which is hosted by the East Midlands Development Centre, within its limited capacity, aims to support mental health services in delivery of the Implementation Guidance with respect to the following key priorities for 2004/05:

  1. Encourage mental health trusts (and primary care trusts wherever possible) to appoint a senior women's lead to progress the following:
    • develop three year planning processes, if Trusts are open to this preferable strategic approach (see Section 3 of the Guidance: Planning at Local Level);
    • ensure women's safety in acute inpatient mixed-sex wards (see Section 7.3);
    • establish self-contained women's ward(s) in acute inpatient care (see Section 7.1.1);
    • address violence and abuse as a core mental health issue (see Section 8.1);
    • adopt a more woman focused approach to assessment and care planning, including the routine exploration of violence and abuse, notably childhood sexual abuse (see Section 5.1);
    • establish women-only crisis houses (see Section 7.1.2)
    • develop a sensitive and appropriate approach to working with women who self harm (see Section 8.5).
  2. liaise with PCTs in the commissioning of new or extended women-only community day services (NHS Plan Deliverable - performance indicator for PCT star ratings). NB Commissioning Guidelines will be launched at a conference in Birmingham in Autumn '04 on Women Only Community Day Services.

The Women's Lead in each Development Centre will set up a regional network of Trust Women's Leads for mutual support, to share problems/solutions and to monitor progress.

Development Centre Leads Development Centre
Jo Richardson [email protected] Eastern
Clare Mahoney [email protected] North West
Elaine Evans [email protected] North East
Ann Gorry [email protected] East Midlands
Janet Davies [email protected] London
Sue Waterhouse [email protected] South East
Kate Schneider [email protected] South West
Alison Longwill [email protected] West Midlands

There are also a number of National Actions and Initiatives being taken forward at national level by the National Lead, Liz Mayne. Please do contact her direct for further information on these.

* * See Also * *
* * * * *
* *

  • 5 Local Delivery Stories
  • 1 News Item
  • 6 Publications
  • Contacts:
    Programme Lead:
    Liz Mayne


  • Summary of Draft WMH Strategy
  • Analysis of responses to consultation

  • Feedback from consultation events:
  • Harrogate 1, 2, 3
  • Bristol
  • Torquay
  • Manchester
  • London
  • Related web pages
    DoH: Women's Mental Health Strategy

    * *


    Contact us | Links | Email Alert | Feedback