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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.

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.

    Public mental health leadership and workforce development framework

    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 implementation of the Public Mental Health Leadership and Workforce Development Framework.

    Working locally

    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.
    • Our local team working across South London have invested in a range of training and education projects for mental health, read about them on their website.   

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    We are working closely with colleagues in the Department of Health, NHS England, Public Health England and local authorities to promote what good mental health looks like.

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