Public health teams in local councils are responsible for leading initiatives that promote good physical and mental health.
Unfortunately, local councils aren’t investing enough in promoting good mental health and preventing poor mental health.
We have repeatedly campaigned for councils to do more but, despite this, spend has fallen annually for the last three years, with local councils spending an even smaller proportion of their budget on mental health year on year. Along with national Government, local councils must do more to help people in their communities stay mentally healthy and reduce the chances of them becoming unwell.
Read our 8 December 2016 news article on the continued decrease in public health funding for mental health.
Less than 1 per cent
Despite the Government’s commitment to treating mental health as equal to physical health, in 2015/16, local councils spent less than 1 per cent (on average) of their public health budgets on mental health programmes. Some didn’t spend anything at all.
One in four people will experience a mental health problem in any given year – so it’s likely all of us will know someone who is struggling with their mental health – whether it’s ourselves, our friends, families or neighbours.
Having a mental health problem can impact on all aspects of our lives, from our relationships, work, and physical health. Without the right support it can prevent us from living the life we want to lead. The personal costs are immeasurable. Mental health problems have also been well documented to cost the economy greatly. So it makes sense to promote good mental health and prevent mental health problems when we can.
No longer ‘miscellaneous’
It’s not all bad news. Thanks to your support for our Public Health campaign, from 2016-17, local councils have to report how much of their public health budgets are spent on mental health.
Before our campaign, local councils were only required to report mental health as ‘miscellaneous’ spending which sent the message that mental health isn’t a priority. The mental health of your friends, families and neighbours shouldn’t be regarded as a ‘miscellaneous’ item. We’re pleased to say the Minister for Public Health listened to us.
We’re hoping this will raise the profile of promoting good mental health and building resilience, and we will keep championing for more investment in this area.Public health teams in local councils are responsible for leading initiatives that promote good physical and mental health.