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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. 

It is also known that preventing mental health problems will also benefit physical health outcomes. Mental health problems are common, with 1 in 4 people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem each year.


Public Health England’s Public mental health leadership and workforce development framework set out how they will help to improve the capacity and capability of NHS leaders, and help to develop a workforce that is confident, competent and committed to:

  • promoting good mental health across the population
  • preventing mental illness and suicide
  • improving the quality of life and healthy life expectancy of people living with a mental illness.

It sets out six ambitions, key competencies and priorities for action to inform and influence the development of local and national workforce development. 

The independent Mental Health Task Force Report, The Mental Health Five Year Forward View outlined support for promoting mental health amongst NHS staff, and rolling out of nationally validated training programmes that improve population mental wellbeing.

Building on this, in our Mandate we were asked to scope what initiatives are needed to help improve the mental and physical health and wellbeing of our NHS staff. A task and finish group will produce an action plan setting out how we can make validated courses in mental health promotion and prevention available to public health staff, including those working in primary care, by 2020/21.

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.

Work 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’re 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 and helping partners train and shape the NHS workforce to deliver service c

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