Service design and development

Find out more about the evidence-based resources we have developed. These include mental health care frameworks and pathways, to support mental health commissioners and service providers to make positive changes to their service design.

At the NCCMH, we’re committed to encouraging positive changes to mental health service design. Reducing mental health inequalities and co-producing services with people who will use them lead to significant positive changes, and are a key part of our approach.

Our resources Advancing Mental Health Equality (linked to the NHS Advancing Mental Health Strategy) and Working Well Together: Evidence and tools to enable co-production in mental health commissioning each describe fundamental principles of person-centred service design, and how to apply them in the design of mental health services. 

We developed The Community Mental Health Framework for Adults and Older Adults, which is used and implemented across England, and a range of mental health care pathways for NHS England. The pathways show how to access care and support from the following services: 

  • dementia
  • early intervention in psychosis
  • eating disorders
  • IAPT programme development
  • liaison 
  • perinatal.

Learn more about our service design and development products below.

Principles of service design

Frameworks and pathways

Find out more about the  products we have developed about NHS Talking Therapies, for anxiety and depression (formerly known as Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, IAPT) services:

  • NHS Talking Therapies pathway for people with long-term physical health conditions (LTC) and medically unexplained symptoms (short guide, full implementation guidance and helpful resources documents)
  • The NHS Talking Therapies for anxiety and depression Manual (formerly The IAPT Manual): An essential handbook for NHS Talking Therapies services that describes the psychological therapies model and how to deliver it (updated February 2024)
  • Review of Wave 1 early implementers of IAPT services for people with long-term conditions and medically unexplained symptoms
  • Ethnic Inequalities in the IAPT Programme: A Policy Review

Access the evidence-based implementation guidance we have developed for routine patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) in community mental health services for adults, including older adults, with severe mental illness (SMI).

Find out how commissioners and providers can implement the pathway for EIP services with our 2016 Access and Waiting Time Standard (guidance, helpful resources, and how to record and report using SNOMED codes).
Find out more about The Community Mental Health Framework for Adults and Older Adults: Support, Care and Treatment and the follow-up eight key messages from the College. The full guidance documents were commissioned by NHS England to support the delivery of The NHS Long Term Plan.
Access our data collection tools for CCGs and dedicated teams providing urgent and emergency mental health care and intensive home treatment to children and young people.

Find out about our documents and resources about dementia care, including our short implementation guide for dementia care, dementia care pathway full implementation guidance (plus appendices and helpful resources), and a related coding resource (Excel) with SNOMED codes.