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Mental health promotion and mental illness prevention

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.

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 August 2017, 140 trainers were in place and

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

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.

Our local teams have supported a number of initiatives in the public mental health area. For example, our local team working across North West London is working with Connecting Care 4 Children, a programme established by Imperial College Trust, school nurse commissioners, public health specialist registrars and a number of schools to establish learning modules about emotional intelligence and resilience in children.

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 the public health workforce provides an overview of the public mental health knowledge and skill areas required of a public health professional. It can be used to inform the development of public health academic courses and training programmes or for professional development.