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.