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Wellbeing and mental health

As acknowledged in the national consensus statement for Making Every Contact Count, mental wellbeing underpins our capability to make and sustain health behaviour change; the better our mental health is, the better choices we make in terms of healthy lifestyles, and the better we can sustain these changes.

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.

HEE has established a public mental health project linking into the Mental Health and Population Health and Prevention Programmes. Read about our work below:

We have been working with Public Health England to produce an action plan setting out how we can 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 builds 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.

The action plan includes a number of recommended actions to put this vision into action, including:

- developing the public health curricula available, encouraging people to take public mental health courses and ensuring the ones that are available align

- commissioning, accrediting and evaluating public mental health programmes.

We are already working to implement parts of the action plan, for example:

- we have published a list of currently available resources

- we have been rolling out the Connect 5 public mental health train the trainer programme across England. By the end of April 2018, 143 trainers were in place and

- we have been developing curricula and frameworks to support learning in this area.

In 2018 HEE established an innovation fund to support implementation of mental wellbeing awareness amongst wider public health staff.  Two contracts were awarded:

CompassBUZZ delivered mental wellbeing awareness training and development programme 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.

Mair Health Ltd developed and delivered 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.

We will continue to work with some key system stakeholders, including Public Health England, the Faculty of Public Health and the Royal Society of Public Health to take forward our action plan. We have endorsed Public Health’s England Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health, and, using the findings, will work with them to support implementation and improve the mental health promotion and prevention training of the public health workforce.

Working with Public Health England, we have collated examples of training programmes available in mental health promotion and prevention, sharing examples of emerging practice in building knowledge and skills of the workforce across England.  Aimed at commissioners, managers and practitioners the document is designed to help them decide the right course for them and their workforce, based on the competencies required. This will help support the implementation of the Public Mental Health Leadership and Workforce Development Framework.

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.

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