In this section you will find answers to some frequently asked questions about the Cavendish Square Group, a glossary of terms and other useful information including the London Mental Health Fact Book, infographics and statistics about mental health in London. Please feel free to download and use these resources.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Cavendish Square Group is a collaboration of the ten NHS trusts that provide mental health services in London.

The Group is committed to pan-London collaborative working between Trusts and to providing a new voice for mental health in the capital. The Group takes its name from 20 Cavendish Square, London – the home of its meetings.

The Chief Executives have been meeting at 20 Cavendish Square as individual representatives of their Trusts for over a decade to discuss issues of common interest. This pan-London collaboration also includes regular meetings between the ten Trust Chief Operating Officers, Medical Directors, Directors of Nursing, Chief Financial Officers and Trust Chairs.

The discussion forums proved to be a valuable space in which to consider the complex challenges facing the mental health community in London, and the Trusts’ leadership decided to formalise their commitment to tackling those challenges together as the Cavendish Square Group.

The Group was formally launched on the 25 February 2015.

The Group has long recognised that good mental health – like good physical health – is central to the success of London’s economy and the wellbeing of its citizens.

The members of the Cavendish Square Group feel that it is now more crucial than ever for mental health to move up London’s agenda and be treated as a priority by individuals and employers, by parents and educators and by clinicians and policy makers.

The motivation behind the Group was to strive to better understand, better treat and better meet London’s unique mental health needs and to collectively make the case for achieving true parity of esteem and an appropriate share of health resources.

By joining together, the 10 Trusts sought to amplify their individual voices in order to better reflect and serve the capital’s mental health needs.

Parity of esteem assumes that there can be no health without mental health.

Long seen as a ‘Cinderella service’ mental health does not receive an adequate share of the UK health economy funding despite accounting for almost a quarter (23%) of the total disease burden.

A drive for parity of esteem seeks to rebalance this system in order to ensure patients have access to the same quality and frequency of services and care for a mental health issue, as they would for a physical health issue.

The Cavendish Square Group has outlined three main ambitions, namely to: make London the most mental health friendly work economy in the world, close the life expectancy gap for Londoners with a mental health problem and ensure that London is a centre of excellence for supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people

Having a mental health problem remains the number one labour market trigger for exclusion from the workforce.  Nine out of ten people believe that disclosure of either a past or present mental health problem would damage their career. 

Londoners with mental health problems currently have shorter life expectancy than the rest of the population – between 10 to 15 years less. At present, 75% of people with depression and anxiety do not receive any form of treatment. The equivalent figure for people with diabetes is just 8%.

50% of adult mental health problems start before someone is 14. The work done to give London’s children the best start in life and to help young people who develop emotional or mental health problems is crucial. A programme of early intervention which targets the first 1000 days will have a profound effect on the child’s wellbeing and a major impact on whether they go on to develop mental health problems later in life.

We work with partners from across the public and third sector. For a comprehensive breakdown, please refer to the Cavendish Square Group London Mental Health Fact Book.

The Cavendish Square Group is made up of the chief executives of the 10 NHS Trusts responsible for mental health services in London. It is therefore a group endowed with a great deal of expertise and understanding of how to deliver change to mental health patients, through the NHS. The Group will therefore be a catalyst for bringing about change through existing NHS delivery mechanisms. Indeed, by dint of its collaborative nature, it will also encourage better problem solving and greater sharing of best practice.

Secondly, by operating as an umbrella organisation, the Group will be able to pursue a policy agenda which would be difficult for any individual Trust alone. By feeding into national political debates and by engaging with decision makers in the Department for Health and in Westminster, the Group will seek to influence policy making in a way that reflects its ambitions.

Members of the Cavendish Square Group work day in day out with service users and collaborate closely with patient representative organisations and other groups. The Group will always seek to ensure the voice of service users is represented and includes service users or representative groups in activities wherever possible.

Glossary of Terms

Here you will find a useful glossary of mental health terms. Terms such as schizophrenia and parity of esteem can become confused so we have supplied a clear, concise guide to some of the most important terms in understanding mental health. A downloadable version of these terms is available here.

Care and facilities for people who are suffering from a severe, short-term episode of mental illness.

Standard unit to measure time spent in a hospital ward, usually including an overnight stay.

A type of talking therapy used to change the way someone thinks or behaves, to manage problems such as anxiety or depression.

Excessive problems with a child’s conduct and discipline. Can manifest itself as such things such as a difficult temperament or hyperactivity.

State of mental confusion which can occur when unwell.

Abnormal attitude towards food, leading to making unhealthy choices about food. Most common disorders include anorexia and bulimia.

Services which provide immediate access to mental health specialists for people being treated for physical health problems. Can be provided in hospitals and in the community.

Ensuring mental health is valued as equal to physical health. Requires both forms of ill-health to be treated with the same level of urgency and afforded an equal status by policy makers and statutory bodies.

Describes the period surrounding birth, and traditionally includes the time of foetal viability from about 24 weeks of pregnancy up to either 7 or 28 days of life.

Mental health problem which causes people to perceive or interpret things differently from other people. Two main symptoms are hallucinations and delusions.

A condition which causes a person to significantly differ from the average in terms of their perceptions and feelings. Can be manifested in experiencing excessive levels of stress, avoiding other people and difficulty maintaining relationships.

Period following the birth of a child. Conditions such as postnatal depression usually appear in the first two months after birth.

The first point of contact in the health care system. Often care received through a GP surgery, a walk-in centre, or a pharmacy.

Form of therapy where the patient talks to a trained therapist and looks to find the deeper roots of a problem and hopefully, the solution.

Condition which causes a range of different psychological symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions or severe changes in behaviour.

Care which people receive in a general hospital. Can be planned care, following a referral by a GP or another specialist, or unplanned emergency care.

Under section 136 of the Mental Health Act, if the police find someone in public who they believe suffers from a mental health disorder, they may remove them to a place of safety, such as a hospital or a police station, where the person can be kept for up to 72 hours.

Connecting people to activities in the community which may help deal with their condition. A form of non-medical support.

Disagreement or stagnation in therapy. May be caused by a reluctance of the patient to fully engage in the prescribed treatment.


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The London Mental Health Fact Book

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