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4.2 Mental illness prevention

Our approach to mental illness prevention focuses on proactively working with the communities most likely to have higher levels of mental ill health. Our local priority groups have been identified via a mix of national profiling, local data and local stakeholder consultation.

This approach will be achieved by working with GP practice cluster areas to bring together mental health, primary care, community services and social care to meet the needs of the local populations.

We work to support improved mental health in these groups by targeting existing service provision and by providing mental health training for the workforce that supports them. So for example we have worked with local job centres and social housing providers to train staff and offer targeted services to customers.

There has also been work undertaken to link up with the police and ensure the mental health needs of those coming into contact with the criminal justice system are supported. This has included a new service giving specialist mental health input to the control room for the emergency services and mental health support is available in courts and police custody suites.

We also work in partnership with key local organisations and forums relating to these agendas, and integrate our work with other strategies and plans: for example the Older People’s Strategy Group, Drug and Alcohol Service and Carers Advisory Panel.

Links with CYP mental health

We acknowledge the artificial distinction between adult and children & young person’s (CYPs) mental health for those young people aged 16-25. We need to ensure both systems are linked in a way that supports positive transition. Whilst this work is overseen in the context of the CYP plan its importance is acknowledged in this adult strategy. Similarly, maternal and infant mental health is a common element in both strategies, with the main targets and outcomes sitting in the CYP strategy. No Health Without Mental Health highlights the fact that around 75% of adults who experience mental ill health first had issues before the age of 18. This fact further demonstrates the close links that are needed and do indeed exist between our local approaches for adults and CYP to improve mental health in South Gloucestershire.

Where possible we link health promotion, training and commissioning across service areas. Our aim is to work in a multi-disciplinary context to support individuals with a wide range of issues instead of supporting each risk factor individually. This acknowledges the interdependence of risk factors including the link between poor physical health and poor mental health.

National targets linked to mental illness prevention as outlined in The five year forward view for mental health include:

  • New Life Chances Fund of up to £30 million for outcome-based interventions to tackle alcoholism and drug addiction through proven approaches. This requires local areas to demonstrate how they will integrate assessment, care and support for people with co-morbid substance misuse and mental health problems.
  • By 2020/21, NHS England and the Joint Unit for Work and Health should ensure that up to 29,000 more people per year living with mental health problems are supported to find or stay in work through increasing access to psychological therapies for common mental health problems. The Department of Work and Pensions should also invest to ensure that qualified employment advisers are fully integrated into expanded psychological therapies services.
  • The Department of Work and Pensions should, based on the outcome of the “Supported Housing” review in relation to the proposed Housing Benefit cap to Local Housing Allowance levels, use the evidence to ensure the right levels of protection are in place for people with mental health problems who require specialist supported housing.
  • Public Health England should prioritise ensuring that people with mental health problems who are at greater risk of poor physical health get access to prevention and screening programmes. This includes primary and secondary prevention through screening and NHS Health Checks, as well as interventions for physical activity, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and access to ‘stop smoking’ services.

A core priority is the reduction in the level of premature mortality for people with mental ill health. This needs a system response to support equality of access to physical health services and appropriate physical health checks for people with serious mental illness.

Our vision for mental illness prevention

South Gloucestershire is a place where there is equality in mental health outcomes between different communities and all communities have confidence in the local mental health system.
Priorities for mental illness prevention

  • To reduce inequalities in mental health outcomes between the different communities in South Gloucestershire.
  • Support service users and the voluntary sector to shape provision using their local knowledge and expertise.
  • Ensure mental health is integrated into in key linked agendas for example housing, employment and education. This should include joint service provision and commissioning.
  • To promote positive mental health with employers and employees, and work to reduce stigma in the workplace.
  • Ensure strong links between mental health services and other parts of the health system.
  • Develop a suicide prevention plan.
What is working well?

  • We are engaging better the different communities of South Gloucestershire in partnership with HealthWatch.
  • We have commissioned new capacity in the Voluntary sector after a co-production process including service users and carers.
  • We have recruited mental health champions from a range of local communities.
  • We have held joint meetings with agendas including substance misuse, hate crime, food poverty and housing.
  • We have jointly commissioned mental health provision with partners including the drug and alcohol team, anti-social behaviour team, Merlin Housing and the University of the West of England.
  • We have been working with employers to become Time to Change accredited and supported a range of partners to deliver sessions for improved staff wellbeing.
Measures of success for mental illness prevention:

  1. Improved self-reported wellbeing for all communities in South Gloucestershire.
  2. Reduced social isolation for all communities in South Gloucestershire.
  3. Increased capacity in the voluntary sector to support people in the community.
  4. High levels of mental health service satisfaction reported by our priority communities of interest.
  5. Reduced suicide rate in South Gloucestershire.
  6. Reduction in number of claimants of Employment Support Allowance linked primarily to mental health.
  7. Reduction in employee sickness absence linked primarily to mental health.