Mental Health Foundation welcomes new prevention resources

30 August 2017

There is now greater awareness that most people – nearly two in three of us – will develop a mental health problem, such as anxiety or depression, in our lifetimes. One in six of us will experience a problem in any given week, and, on the flip side, just one in six of us has truly good mental health.

Sometimes when we look at such statistics it can be easy to forget that we all have mental health. Mental health is a spectrum. The current system fails to acknowledge this. It is missing opportunities to help people before they drift, unsupported, to the severe end of that spectrum.

With deteriorating mental health amongst our nation’s young people, we stand at a real crossroads where unless we invest in prevention we will reach a crisis point across public health. As the UK’s only major prevention focussed mental health charity, we stand at this critical juncture with great hope.

We are delighted to see this first major step taken in what has the potential to become a mental health prevention revolution. Today sees Public Health England launch new resources to enable local commissioners to put prevention into practice. The resources have been supported and developed by stakeholders, including the Mental Health Foundation.

We hope this first step will be the first in a string of many, leading to greater investment into evaluating and learning from how these resources work in practice. While we know many of the ingredients for a mentally healthy society, the public mental health community still has some way to go in being able to recommend specific action that will prevent mental ill health in a given context.

Welcoming this new suite of resources, Jenny Edwards CBE, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation said:

"With prevention at the heart of what we do, we have a proud history of working to find and address the sources of mental health problems. We know that for prevention to work, interventions need to take place on the ground, in our communities, taking advantage of the knowledge and assets that already exist.

"The planning resources launched today by Public Health England bring us to a real pivot point. If wholly championed by local partners, the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health could bring about a prevention revolution, whereby local communities both promote good mental health and prevent mental health problems from developing.

"These new resources reflect the crucial understanding that taking a prevention-focussed approach to improving mental health can lead us to a fairer and more equitable society. The scope of the resource is to be commended - addressing the clear need to reduce inequalities and the structural barriers to good mental health so that all communities can thrive.

"The challenge we face is immense, but by no means insurmountable. This prevention concordat sends a strong message; that only by working together to increase the focus on prevention can we transform the health system and build a mentally thriving society."