Mental health

Improving the support for people with serious mental health problems is a key priority. The Integrated Care System in Devon is transforming community support through the Community Mental Health Framework.

What is the Community Mental Health Framework?



Many of the mental health services that we provide in Devon are very good, and we have worked hard over recent years to increase investment, extend the range of services available and improve people’s experience of those services.

One area that has lacked sustained focus and investment, both locally and nationally, is the provision of community mental health services for adults (people aged 18 and over) with severe mental health needs.

In particular, we know that many of our community mental health teams have long waiting lists and there are gaps between services.  We also know that people find it difficult to access the services they need and to navigate their way around a system that offers support from many different sources, including GPs, health and social care providers, local authorities and the voluntary sector. Furthermore, we know that mental health support is not as closely integrated as it needs to be with other key services, such as those providing help with housing and employment.

We are now in the process of implementing plans to tackle these issues and to deliver more consistent, joined-up support for people that better meets their personal needs and also the needs of their local communities. 

National context

The changes proposed for Devon are part of a national improvement programme called the Community Mental Health Framework (CMHF). The NHS Long Term Plan pledges to deliver £2.3 billion of extra funding to mental health services in England by 2023/24.  Over the next five years, £1 billion will be spent to expand and improve community mental health services around the country to meet people’s needs more fully.  In Devon, we have successfully bid for our share of this funding. The Framework will bring an additional £15m into the county to support the plan.

What is the plan for Devon?

Over the next 18 months we will introduce a new model of community mental health care in Devon. We received very positive feedback from NHS England and NHS Improvement about our proposals. 

The core principles of the new model include:

  • Tailored services based around individuals and their whole-life needs – not just their mental health needs
  • Services as close-to-home as possible and shaped to meet the needs of local communities
  • A one-team approach – removing organisational boundaries to ensure joined-up care
  • Support in finding your way around the system
  • Co-production and co-design with people who have lived experience of mental health issues
  • Consistent services and standards of quality across the county.

The core features of the new model include:

  • Targeted neighbourhood support aligned with Devon’s 31 Primary Care Networks(PCNs) and provided by Multi Agency Teams (MATs)
  • Peer Navigators to walk alongside people so they get help when and where it is needed
  • A specific focus on:
    • the transition of young people to adult services
    • the needs of younger adults (18–25-year-olds)
    • the needs of older adults
    • the physical health of people with mental health needs
  • Three clinical areas will be the focus of more targeted support:
    • eating disorders
    • personality disorders
    • mental health rehabilitation
  • Formal arrangements with the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE) and private organisations to ensure fair and equal provision of support across the county.

What’s happening now?

Conversations are under way with staff and people who have lived experience of mental health issues, to ensure that their feedback shapes progress as we move forward.

Discussions are taking place with an alliance of VCSE groups. The aim is for this alliance to be an important provider of the additional support being offered as a core part of the Framework. This alliance will, potentially, receive £3.6m of the new funding. Discussions have been taking place over the summer about how this support can best be provided and it’s hoped an alliance will be selected before the end of 2021.

Closer integration with the county’s GPs and PCNs, and supporting them to provide better and more joined-up care, is a core element of this improvement programme. Devon is divided into five local areas and Locality Implementation Teams (LITs) in each of these areas have started to develop plans for making the Framework a reality in their patch. These LITs bring together key partners from primary care, mental health services, people with lived experience, local authorities and the VCSE.

Staff are already being recruited to boost the workforce. In total there will be around 140 more people directly supporting people in the county with serious mental health needs. Ten Peer Support Workers and 12 Clinical Associate Psychologists have already started work, with more to come. 

What happens next?

PCNs are starting to establish their Multi Agency Teams, although they are at different stages in their development. These teams will be introduced gradually over the next 18 months. Meanwhile, plans for the delivery of the three clinical areas of particular focus (eating disorders, personality disorders and rehabilitation) are being finalised.   

How do I find out more or get involved?

If you have any queries or would like to receive updates about the programme or get involved, please email  

You can also stay up-to-date by subscribing to our monthly Community Mental Health Newsletter.

You can also download a leaflet with basic information about the Framework.