A major review of the importance of good mental health and wellbeing is the key focus of the 2014 Director of Public Health Annual Report published this week.
The report describes the benefits that can be gained from taking action throughout life to build good mental health and wellbeing with a clear focus on preventing problems before they occur or intervening early when they happen.
Evidence shows that typically only one in four adults with depression or anxiety are receiving treatment compared to over nine in ten adults receiving help for physical conditions like diabetes or hypertension. In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, there are a number of local challenges, for example, the percentage of adults living with dementia or depressions is higher than the national average. Hospital admissions through unintentional and deliberate injuries among under 18s are higher than the national average. There is also have a higher than average suicide rate.
Acting Director of Public Health, Stuart Bourne, said: “I am pleased that this year’s Annual Report can bring a strong focus on the importance of good mental health and wellbeing. It is a fundamental building block of a long and happy life. For example, feeling secure, loved and stimulated in pre-school years can make a big difference in our ability to make friends, learn well and enjoy life. This pattern can be repeated throughout life with those at the margins of society often coping with poor level of mental wellbeing which impacts on many health behaviours such as alcohol and substance abuse.”
“I look forward to working with local communities and a wide range of colleagues in addressing the issues raise in the report. Reducing the stigma of poor mental health and supporting people in tackling the issues that affect them makes sense for the sense of wellbeing in our homes, schools, workplaces and local communities.”
“We are already taking forward action in a number of key areas such as the Headstart Programme to better equip young people with the skills to deal with mental health issues or continuing to expand the ASIST programme which gives front-line professionals skills in dealing with suicide risk.”
The report sets out a helpful review of current evidence, local data, information on local services and support to improve mental health and wellbeing and suggests how future improvements can be made. It covers nine key mental health topics including common mental health problems, the economic benefits of taking action, supporting children and young people and helping people to cope with dementia.
Elsewhere, other sections in the report focus on:
- An introduction from the Director of Public Health
- An overview – including an update on last year’s report and things to celebrate for public health from the past year
- Public Health Intelligence – looking at how the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment will develop and extending the impact of public involvement in understanding local needs and aspirations
- Supporting local strategies – reviewing how public health action can help to deliver key priorities like the new Cornwall Council strategy
- Commissioning public health services – setting out how essential support is provided around sexual health, drugs and alcohol and new local authority responsibilities for children under 5 years old.
The Director of Public Health is required to publish an independent view on the health of the local population each year. The annual report is published online with a limited number of copies made available to local decision makers and to the public through local libraries.