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Mental health matters – improving the public's mental health and wellbeing

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Today is World Mental Health Day (WMHD) and as such there is a wide range of activities taking place across the world to raise awareness of mental health issues and to mobilise efforts in support of mental health. The theme of this year’s WMHD is ‘mental health in the workplace’. This is in recognition of the fact that we spend a large proportion of our time at work, and that our experience in the workplace is one of the factors that determines our overall health and wellbeing.

Improving mental health in the workplace

PHE is working on improving mental health in the workplace.  Mental health conditions are the second greatest cause of workplace sickness, and are a major cause of people falling out of employment or being unable to get back into work.

There are many things we can do as employers and colleagues to support people with mental health problems, as well as taking steps to look after our own mental health and, the mental health of others and help prevent issues that may lead to problems developing.

We worked with Business in the Community to produce a toolkit for employers to support the mental health and wellbeing of employees – this has been downloaded over 10,000 times in the year since it has been launched.

This free online toolkit helps organisations to create a culture that champions good mental health and provides a greater understanding of how to help those who need support.

It also helps employers to identify the most valuable approaches and resources, developing a bespoke approach that works for them.

Healthy bodies, healthy minds and vice versa

The intrinsic link between physical and mental health dictates that health behaviours positively impact our mental health in the short and long term.

For example being physically active at recommended levels can reduce the risk of depression by around a third and also reduce the risk of dementia.

The How Are You quiz and Active 10 app are just two of the ways the OneYou campaign supports individuals and employers to address risk factors like physical inactivity, sleep issues and unhealthy use of alcohol.

Supporting staff aged 40 and over to take up the offer of the free NHS Health Check is another way the employers can support staff to review their own risks and get access to support.

Prevention concordat

Six weeks ago, we launched the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health and associated suite of resources.

This set of key resources will help local areas take further significant steps towards the promotion of good mental health and the prevention of mental health problems.

Our team is working closely with local areas to help them use the resources to bring about real change and a joined up approach to improve mental health care, prevention and promotion.

To mark World Mental Health Day, 13 further organisations have signed up to the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health Consensus Statement to make a total of 43 signatories, and we continue to encourage others to follow suit.

New mental health campaign announced

We are delighted to be developing and delivering a new mental health campaign announced by the Secretary of State Rt. Hon Jeremy Hunt today.

This campaign, which will start from autumn 2018,  will aim to build resilience and give people evidence-based advice so that we can all be better at supporting people experiencing poor mental health.

The above list of activities are just an outline of the work that PHE is doing to shift the needle to focus on prevention as well as the treatment of mental health problems.

Read our blog on our mental health prevention concordat here.

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