Demands on our mental health services are growing as financial pressures increase. In addition, there are regular changes to service design and commissioning. The current political mantra is ‘more and more, of better quality, for less and less, please’. We suggest that mental health services need to actively respond to these constraints and that clinical transformation is needed to move towards a more sustainable system of healthcare. Emphasis on prevention, patient empowerment and leaner, greener services is required alongside more extensive use of technologies. Focusing on these areas will make mental health services more responsive to the challenges we face and serve to future-proof psychiatry in the UK. Services need to be delivered to provide maximum benefit to the health of our patients, but also to our society and the environment.