The National Service Framework for Mental Health was published in 1999. It laid out a much welcomed list of standards of what health services were to be provided – in terms of mental health promotion, services in primary and secondary care, services for carers and for suicide prevention. It gave an expectation that all of these would be met within a ten year timeframe. Five years on, it is time to reflect on how far mental health services have risen to the challenge. The picture is mixed. While there is no doubt that increased focus has been placed on specialised community based services, which is welcome, this has in many cases been at the expense of attention on other areas such as mental health promotion and inpatient care.