'Building resilient communities' calls on local councils to prioritise mental health within their public health strategy. The report has been launched at a time when more people are seeking help to manage their mental health.
Mental health charities Mind and the Mental Health Foundation today (Wednesday 7 August) publish Building resilient communities, a new report calling on every council to prioritise mental health within their public health strategy. The report comes at a critical moment for public mental health, as the economic climate results in more people needing help to look after their mental health whilst funding for public services is being restricted.
The report has been published at a time when The World Health Organisation predicts that depression will be the second biggest cause of illness by 2020, and Mind’s Infoline received 50% more calls in 2012/13 than the previous year. People are getting in touch with the charity with more acute and complex mental health problems, many stemming from severe financial worries.
Just as public health teams help people to stop smoking or prevent physical illnesses, they can help people to reduce things like stress and anxiety and build resilience to cope with life’s challenges. However, with the public health grant only ring fenced until 2015, there is an urgent need for local councils to do their bit and deliver on the Government’s commitment to parity of esteem by making mental health a key part of local public health plans.
This new report brings together the evidence base and people’s experiences about what makes resilient people and communities. It offers practical steps to help teams design wellbeing and resilience services aimed at preventing the development of mental health problems, and to measure their impact.
Mind’s Director of External Relations Sophie Corlett said:
"As public health teams find their feet within local authorities, now is a key moment to be making the case for the importance of public mental health. We want to see teams recognising that improving the wellbeing of their community will improve their wider health outcomes as well as saving money.
Working in a new environment will present exciting opportunities for public health teams to adopt a more integrated approach through Health and Wellbeing Boards. Local Authorities must grasp this opportunity now as we cannot afford for mental health to be forgotten."
Simon Lawton-Smith, Head of Policy at the Mental Health Foundation said:
"We ignore public mental health at our peril. The recession means this is a challenging time for many individuals and wider communities. It is now more important than ever that people’s mental health is made a public health priority.
Local authorities must seize this opportunity to develop clear public mental health strategies. This report highlights the importance of services and activities that glue communities together and that build people’s emotional resilience.
If these strategies are to be successful, it is vital that those living in the most difficult life circumstances receive targeted support to build their resilience while steps are taken to include the whole local community to protect against the development of poor mental health.
Find out more about Mind and the Mental Health Foundation’s Building Resilient Communities report by visiting the public health campaigns section of Mind's website, or the Mental Health Foundation's website.