Mental Health Foundation calls for further commitment and clarification from the government

Release Date: 30 November 2010

Source: Mental Health Foundation

Country: United Kingdom

Mental Health Foundation calls for further commitment and clarification from the government on its public health white paper.
 
In response to the government’s white paper on public health, Healthy Lives, Healthy People, Dr Andrew McCulloch, Chief Executive at the Mental Health Foundation has issued the following statement:

“We welcome the government’s identification of public health as a priority for investment.

“Public health issues such as diet, exercise and alcohol consumption are as important to preventing and combating mental ill-health as they are to physical illnesses – indeed, this is the first public health white paper to recognise so explicitly the inextricable link between physical and mental health, which is encouraging.

“We particularly welcome support for interventions that promote mental resilience amongst young people and active aging amongst older people, approaches we have long called for. As the government acknowledges, an effective public health policy will reap huge long-term dividends by reducing the burden mental health has on the economy, which currently stands at £105bn a year.

“For this public strategy to be successful, however, we need further commitment and clarification from the government on how this policy will be funded and supported.

“For example, the success of this strategy on the front-line will depend on local authorities maintaining investment in services such as education, housing and leisure. A ring-fenced public health budget will be far less effective if local authorities are forced to cut back in these other crucial areas due to the funding reductions announced in the spending review.

“Furthermore the government must continue to invest in anti-stigma and anti-discrimination work, so we don’t continue with the access and rehabilitation problems that have compromised the success of public health and mental health services to date.

“Finally, a clear outcomes framework that covers both mental illness and wider mental wellbeing at a population level is essential to assess the progress of the nation’s mental health and wellbeing and identify where further support is needed”.

For further comment or to interview Dr McCulloch, please contact:
Alistair Martin: 020 7803 1130 / 07500 334 165 / amartin@mhf.org.uk