Public Mental Health

The wellbeing and mental health directorate of Public Health England have engaged MHPF in some of their current work areas. MHPF have been scoping ways in which the voluntary and community sector are effectively supporting people with mental health issues, looking at the particular challenges in service provision.

Mental and physical health conditions
Historically health and social care services have treated these separately, but interest in achieving parity for mental health looks to bring them together. Evidence has shown that improvements in a person’s psycho-social condition will increase recovery rates from physcial health problems and that mental ill-health increases the prevalent of a number of physical conditions. In addition, people experiencing physical ill-health, particularly those with long term or life-limiting conditions, often develop mental health issues as they fact the impact of their physical health condition. 

Smoking cessation and mental health
Smoking is one of the contributing factors to explain the higher mortality rates for individuals with mental health issues. It has also been proven that smoking cessation can markedly improve mental health and overall wellbeing.  However primary care records indicate that individuals with mental health issues are less often taking advantage of smoking cessation services than those without. This may be because the support needed may be more intensive, it may be a reluctance to engage, or it may be that information is not being presented in the best format. It is clear that people with mental health issues are when given the right motivation succeeding in smoking cessation.

Employment and mental health
Work and productive activity can greatly improve a person’s mental wellbeing and there are a number of initiatives looking at support for people with mental health issues both in the workplace and in getting back into work. The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme has helped those experiencing mild and moderate mental health problems to access effective, appropriate support, but there is still a lot of work to be done in preventing the development or worsening of mental health problems in the work place. 

Housing and mental health
Housing and mental health are closely related with homelessness, rough sleeping or insecure housing shown to further exacerbate a person’s mental health problems. Safe, secure and affordable housing is critical in enabling people to live well, work and take part in community life. MHPF will be looking at what good housing or accommodation looks like and the services which support people to access and sustain it.