Coaching for Mental Health: Ethical Dilemma or Ethical Development?

Appendix 2: National Service Framework for Mental Health (NSF)

Published on 30th September 1999. It focuses on the mental health needs of working age adults up to 65 in England The Framework spells out national standards for mental health, what they aim to achieve, how they should be developed and delivered and how to measure performance in every part of the country.

Guiding Values and Principles

The NSF sets out ten guiding values and principles which state that people with mental health problems can expect that services will:

  • Involve service users and their carers in planning and delivery of care
  • Deliver high quality treatment and care which is known to be effective and acceptable
  • Be well suited to those who use them and non-discriminatory
  • Be accessible so that help can be obtained when and where it is needed
  • Promote their safety and that of their carers, staff and the wider public
  • Offer choices which promote independence
  • Be well co-ordinated between all staff and agencies
  • Deliver continuity of care for as long as this is needed
  • Empower and support their staff
  • Be properly accountable to the public, service users and carers.


Recommendations from reports

The National Service Framework (NSF) for mental health has generated another research report ‘Strategies for Living – a report of user-led research into people’s strategies for living with mental distress’

This report, which is based on 71 in-depth interviews with mental health service users summarises their ‘most helpful strategies and supports’ for living with mental distress as follows:

“Many of these themes were replicated in the small research projects carried out by service users with the support of the Strategies for Living team – themes such as: acceptance, a sense of belonging, peer support and empowerment.
One clear message from service users to mental health services is that the help that the latter provide is part of a wider package of things that service users find useful.
Very little attention has been paid to the issues of self-help and self-management by services in the past, but an emphasis on them as part of the care planning process would surely help both service users and workers in meeting standards 4 and 5 of the NSF. It would also lead to increased opportunities for people to experience individual and collective empowerment. This is particularly pertinent now that crisis and contingency plans are part of ongoing care plans.”

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