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Wellbeing and mental health

Mental wellbeing underpins our capability to make and sustain behaviour change related to health - the better our mental health is, the better choices we make in terms of healthy lifestyles, and the better we can sustain these changes. When we feel mentally well, we can work productively, enjoy our free time, and contribute actively to our communities.

Preventing mental health problems will benefit physical health outcomes - mental health problems are common, with 1 in 4 people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem each year and one in ten children aged 5-16 has a diagnosable mental health problem.

In 2017 we published an action plan, developed with Public Health England, setting out how we could make validated courses on mental health, promotion and prevention available to public health staff, including those working in primary care, by 2020/21. This action plan built on Public Health England’s Public mental health leadership and workforce development framework, the independent Mental Health Task Force Report, The Mental Health Five Year Forward View, and our Mental Health Workforce Plan for England.

Actions taken forward from this plan include:

- Publication of a Public Mental Health Training Directory and Quality Marker Checklist

- An innovation fund in 2018 to support implementation of mental wellbeing awareness amongst wider public health staff. Two examples of projects we have funded are:

- Delivery of a mental wellbeing awareness training and development programme by CompassBUZZ to 295 school leaders in North Yorkshire for the development of a sustainable whole systems approach. The evaluation report and an implementation toolkit together with presentation slides are available to aid implementation in other regions.

- Development and delivery by Mair Health Ltd of a training programme on awareness of children and young people’s mental wellbeing to the education, protection and welfare sectors in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Their evaluation report, case study and competency framework alongside presentation slides are also available for wider use.

- An innovation fund in 2019, created to upskill maternity and primary care workforces in mental wellbeing. Further information can be found in this case study.

In partnership with Public Health England and the Faculty of Public Health, we have developed two content guides, available below, for mental health promotion and prevention courses, one for public health academic courses and professional training programmes, and another for introductory courses for professional development in mental health and well-being. 

The introductory guide can be used by course providers or by individuals as a guide and self-assessment.

The guide for professional development aims to provide a concise but comprehensive overview of the public mental health knowledge and skill areas required of a public health professional.

Physical and mental health are closely linked. People with severe and prolonged mental illness are at risk of dying on average 15-20 years earlier than other people - one of the greatest inequalities in England. Two thirds of these deaths are from avoidable physical illnesses, including heart disease and cancer, many caused by smoking.   

HEE is a member of a new collaborative for equal health Equally Well UK bringing together organisations that support the physical health of people with a mental illness. A jointly signed charter offers a vision for improved physical health support for anyone living in the UK with a severe mental illness.

HEE is supporting mental health professionals to have the skills and confidence to raise physical health issues with their service users, through Making Every Contact Count (MECC).

As part of the innovation fund established in 2018, a contract was awarded to Ealing Borough Council for MECC training for mental health workforce. A case study, an evaluation report and presentation slides are available to showcase this project. The project concluded that because it is highly person-centred, MECC is appropriate for this group, but some people may require more time to process the conversation and more support accessing onward services.

All our Health

This bite-sized session was developed as part of our All Our Health e-learning programme to give health and care professionals an overview of mental health and wellbeing - including key evidence, data and signposting to trusted resources to help prevent illness, protect health and promote wellbeing.

Access the All Our Health: Mental Health and Wellbeing e-learning module

HEE e-Learning for Healthcare has added a new e-learning session on Public Mental Health to its MindEd programme. This free e-learning resource outlines the impact of mental disorder, mental wellbeing, and public health interventions. It explores how access to public mental health interventions can be improved and is aimed at public health practitioners and trainees and members of the primary care, secondary mental health, social care and commissioning workforce.

These documents were developed for HEE by Maudsley Learning to support people and organisations to implement Making Every Contact Count (MECC) approaches in mental health settings:

MECC Presentation, MECC Quality Marker Checklist, MECC Consensus Statement for Mental Health, MECC Evaluation Framework, MECC Fact Sheet, MECC Implementation Guide and Organisational Change and Development Report.

Building on the national MECC resources, these practical resources are intended for use by organisations providing or commissioning mental health services who are:

 • considering or reviewing MECC activity

 • developing or commissioning new MECC training

 • undertaking a review of existing MECC training resource

 • developing and providing MECC training resources