Outcomes from personal budgets in mental health: service users’ experiences in three English local authorities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • John Larsen
  • Sarah Hamilton
  • Jill Manthorpe
  • Vanessa Pinfold
  • Paulina Szymczynska
  • Naomi Clewett


Background: In England, personal budgets are offered to eligible people with severe mental health problems to enable them to purchase what is helpful for their quality of life or recovery. However, in-depth insight into people’s own perceptions of the outcomes is lacking.
Aims: To investigate people’s own reporting of outcomes from using personal budgets in relation to social care needs arising from severe mental health problems.

Method: A convenience sample of 47 individuals receiving personal budgets was recruited from three English local authorities. In-depth semi-structured interviews were subject to thematic framework analysis.

Results: Most participants identified positive outcomes across domains interconnected through individual life circumstances, with mental health and wellbeing, social participation and relationships, and confidence and skills most commonly reported. Some needed more support than others to identify goals and make use of the personal budget to take a more active part in the society.

Conclusions: Personal budgets can enable people to achieve outcomes that are relevant to them in the context of their lives, particularly through enhancing their wellbeing and social participation. Consideration should be given to distinguishing those individuals potentially requiring more support for engagement from those who can engage more independently to identify and pursue their goals.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-224
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Issue number4
Early online date24 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • personal budget, personalisation, recovery, mental health, outcomes, service user experience

Sustainable Development Goals