Mental Health Clinical Priority Project

Approximately a quarter of all people will experience a mental health problem in the course of a year, and 23 out of 30 of those who experience mental health problems will visit their GP. Most mental health problems are managed solely in primary care in collaboration with other services. The College believes that preventative, accessible, high quality primary care is vital to keeping patients healthy for longer. The RCGP advocates a bio-psycho-social approach to mental health problems and believes that people’s mental health should be treated in partnership with their physical health.

Aim of the project

The Mental Health clinical priority recognises the vital role general practice and primary care plays in the managing mental illness and ensuring that primary care colleagues can provide high quality mental health care. The project is developing education and training with focus on better diagnosis, developing listening skills and promoting of multi-disciplinary training. The Mental Health Priority is also involved in developing the GP curriculum, core skills and personal development plans. 

Key outputs

Forthcoming work 

  1. What are IAPT services for long term conditions? A summary of current guidance
  2. Good practice prescribing in mental health 

Recent outputs

Clinical team

Dr Elizabeth England, RCGP Clinical Champion for Mental Health 

Dr Elizabeth England, RCGP Clinical Champion for Mental Health

I am privileged to be the RCGP Mental Health and Whole Person Care Clinical Lead, where I can influence RCGP policy on mental health through the College’s position statement. I also play a role in developing the mental health curriculum for trainee GPs and provide educational resources for my GP colleagues. 

I hope to make a personal difference in mental health with focus on inequality including, suicide prevention in primary care and reducing the gap in mortality experienced by people with severe mental illness who die much earlier. I work to improve mental health access for children and young people and older adults which is often overlooked.

Ultimately, I hope to be able to support GPs in developing thriving, all-age, integrated primary mental health services. I also work as a GP in a busy inner-city practice and as a clinical Commissioning Lead in Sandwell and West Birmingham Care Commissioning Group. My personal interests include a love of cooking (and eating), taking my dog for a walk (and carrying him most of the way) and yoga.

Dr Faraz Mughal, RCGP Clinical Fellow for Mental Health Dr Faraz Mughal, RCGP Clinical Support Fellow for Mental Health

I am a NHS Salaried GP in Birmingham and National Institute for Health Research In-Practice Fellow at the Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences, Keele University. I am honoured to be working on behalf of GPs for GPs in this critical area of mental health in general practice and primary care. 

We know mental health contributes to a huge proportion of our general practice workload and I am passionate about improving the quality of primary care mental health with a specific focus on children and young people’s mental health, our next generation of adults.

Dr Nadia Llanwarne, RCGP Clinical Fellow for Older People's Mental Health

Dr Nadia Llanwarne, RCGP Clinical Fellow for Mental Health

I am a First5 GP in Birmingham. I work as a ‘GeriGP’ in a community hospital looking after older people, and also work as a salaried GP.  I trained in Manchester, London and Cambridge, and hold an MA in Medical Anthropology (SOAS, University of London) and an MPhil in Primary Care Research (Cambridge). I was awarded NIHR academic fellowships in Cambridge, which centred on studying patients’ experience of healthcare encounters. 

During my clinical work, I have witnessed the unmet mental health needs of older people, in particular the psychological burden of multimorbidity, and the devastation inflicted by social isolation and grief. Given that older people have regular contact with their GP surgeries, primary care is well placed to tackle some of these challenges. By working as part of the CIRC mental health team, I hope to raise awareness of these issues, contributing to improved identification and treatment of older people’s mental ill health.
We really value GP feedback into our work and welcome new ideas, so please do get in touch with CIRC: We’ll endeavor to get back to you.   

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