General Election 2015: Prevention & public health

It doesn't make sense

Millions of pounds are spent every year to prevent people developing problems like heart disease or cancer, but hardly anything is spent on preventing mental health problems.

This year, most local authorities are only spending (on average) 1.36 per cent of their prevention budgets on mental health.

That doesn't make sense.

Take action today

What you need to know

Just like physical health, we all have mental health. Millions of pounds are spent every year to prevent people developing problems like heart disease or cancer, but hardly anything is spent on preventing mental health problems.

With the right mix of support, education and services, we can learn to look after our minds, cope better with life’s ups and downs, and have a better chance of staying well.

There are lots of reasons why people experience mental health problems, but some are more likely to become unwell than others, such as pregnant women, people who are isolated or those living with a long-term physical health problem.

Local and national government should do more to help us stay mentally healthy and reduce the chances of some of us becoming unwell, paying particular attention to those more at risk.

Local authorities have a specific budget to prevent mental health problems developing in the communities they serve. However, our research found:

  • This year, most local authorities are only spending (on average) 1.36 per cent on helping people in their communities avoid developing mental health problems
  • This year, some local authorities don’t plan to spend anything on the prevention of mental health problems
  • There is enormous confusion about what local authorities should do to help prevent people becoming mentally unwell. Some don’t even know it’s their responsibility.

We want the next Government to introduce a national strategy to ensure local authorities know what to do, and use their budgets to prevent mental health problems developing and reduce the number of people becoming unwell.

 

Take action

We want local and national government to understand that spending on preventing mental health problems developing is just as important as physical health. We’re working hard to get national attention on this issue, but we need your help to get noticed in your local area.

  • Watch and share our film with your friends and family
  • Email your local paper (using our easy-to-use template) about how much your local authority is spending on prevention
  • If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, share our illustration on the state of public mental health spending

For MPs, candidates and policy makers

Mental health problems cost the country over £100 billion a year through lost working days, benefits, lost tax receipts and the cost of treatment.

We need the next Government to develop a long-term plan to stem the flow of people becoming unwell.

There’s lots of evidence as to what works, and pockets of good practice. But we need a national strategy that ensures all local authorities use their public health budgets to prevent mental health problems developing.

Regional analysis

Of the 152 local authorities in England, 87 (57 per cent) responded to our Freedom of Information request.

The results are listed by region.

Regional Analysis 3

 

 

 

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