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Making progress on the prevention agenda in mental health

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The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health  signalled that a step change was needed to prevent mental health problems. The Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health marked the first time local and national government agencies came together with organisations across the health and care sector to make prevention a priority for mental health.

Today, 74 organisations representing all sectors have signed up and committed to action, and we are continuing to encourage others to follow suit.

The NHS Long Term plan has prevention at its heart and the prevention concordat fully supports the notion of redressing the balance between treatment and predicting and preventing poor health, the latter of which has been historically lacking in resource.

The promotion of good mental health is everyone’s responsibility and can only be achieved by working together.

Where are we going and what have we learnt?

This year, the ambition of the Prevention Concordat is to support every part of the country, cross sector, to commit to prevention focussed action on mental health. Signatories will be supported to adopt intelligence-led public mental health approaches that are designed with communities in mind.

This is a journey and significant action has already been taken locally and nationally. There has been great feedback from the current signatories and we have gathered some of the comments that show the positive difference the prevention concordat has made so far:

“The Prevention Concordat has been vital to the development of our new mental health strategy, framing our approach and guiding the work of our Mental Health Strategic Partnership Board.  Its 5 key principles have provided a firm foundation for us working together as a partnership to improve the mental health and wellbeing of the people of Durham”

Amanda Healy, Director of Public Health, Durham County Council

“The signing of the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health has provided an opportunity to reconsider the initiatives in the north of the county in this context; for example, we are extending the #onething campaign to identify those in need of mental health support and direct them to appropriate services.”

Cllr Margaret Bell, North Warwickshire Borough Council

The PHE team has been delivering workshops and webinars across England over the last eighteen months. They have been working closely with local areas to help them use the suite of resources which have been published.

These resources are designed to help local areas to put in place effective prevention planning arrangements and encourage a joined up approach and help local areas take further significant steps towards improving mental health care, prevention and promotion.

“The Prevention Concordat for better mental health has been fundamental to our prevention work across the Middlesbrough and Redcar/Cleveland local authority areas. The 5 key principles of the prevention concordat have been an invaluable framework to guide and build upon our local efforts to achieve positive mental health and wellbeing outcomes for our local population.

The guidance and tools have helped to support the business case for change, promote strong partnerships and collaboration and also articulate an aspirational vision for a future of better mental health for the communities that we serve. “

Edward Kunonga, Director of Public Health – Middlesbrough Council and Redcar and Cleveland Council

We all have mental health; it changes as we move though different stages of our lives.  Just like physical health, there are things we can do to stay healthy.  And sometimes things happen that are beyond our control.

Some young people growing up in our poorest areas, facing disadvantage and Adverse Childhood Experiences, demonstrate amazing resilience.  We want to learn how they do that and help other young people feel the same.  There are many factors and many agents; we warmly welcome the opportunity as a Concordat signatory, to work with others for the benefit of our communities and the families and young people who live there”

Jane Ashworth, CEO Streetgames

We will continually seek feedback from our signatories and share promising, practical examples through our concordat network throughout 2019.

Who are we looking to sign up?

Any partnership, organisation, community or alliance who has a commitment to prevention of mental health problems and promoting good mental health are able to sign up to the Prevention Concordat.

It is an opportunity to share the work you are doing to create resilient communities, build momentum in a national shift to support prevention activity and ultimately, through local and national action, to prevent mental health problems and promote good mental health.

The scope of the work covers prevention in the widest sense, from the promotion of good mental health through to living well with mental health problems and everything in between.

If you are interested in signing up to the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health and being part of this national prevention movement submit your commitment action plan today.

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