Our Public Health work has three key priority themes for 2017…
The first is our ‘No Public Health without Mental Health’ theme. This means that we never try to artificially separate out physical health from mental health. In line with this – every single month of our Year of Self Care will be intrinsically linked to mental health. So, when we give out info about alcohol we will mention the effect of it on mental health. Same for diet, exercise, smoking, learning & volunteering and all of our other months. By doing this we hope to get our residents thinking about mental health in the same way they think about physical health – as something that needs to be actively maintained, cared for and improved.
Our second theme is around young people – and we have already built up a solid programme of work involving online counselling and co-produced preventative work aimed at building resilience. There is no more cost effective use of our time and resources than this – as so many other societal outcomes are influenced by the level of mental well-being among young people (eg: education, addiction, crime, employment etc).
Finally, our third theme is our asset based approach. We see the most sustainable drivers of better community mental well-being as being the community itself. Our asset map , along with our offer of support to community groups, is in sharp contrast to the traditional approach of commissioning and procurement – that does things to people rather than with them. The community asset development programme will hopefully drive improvements in all aspects of health – but most of all they have the potential to improve mental health through the provision of positive social contact and support.