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6. Our priorities – 6.1 Mental health

Mental health is a major public health issue. At least one in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life and one in six adults has a mental health problem at any time (this suggests 36,000 people in South Gloucestershire[1]). In addition to the economic costs, mental ill-health is linked to personal and social costs such as poor physical health, reduced life expectancy, unemployment and social exclusion. The development of a local mental health and wellbeing strategy was identified as a key aim in South Gloucestershire’s first Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy (2013-16)[1].

A needs assessment was completed in 2014/15 to obtain local mental health data to inform the mental health and wellbeing strategy. This was a comprehensive, multi-agency collaborative process (led by public health) which included a service provider mapping event, an overview of national and local strategies and policies, the identification of local prevalence and service use data, engagement with service users and carers using questionnaires and face-to-face interviews and a stakeholder feedback event. The needs assessment identified groups with the highest risk of mental ill-health in South Gloucestershire and the following local priorities:

  • making the links with other key services (drug and alcohol, employment services)
  • development of sub-threshold preventative and community based interventions
  • consistency of GP care for people with mental illness
  • increasing the capacity of secondary mental health services
  • care co-ordination for individual service users
  • availability of consistent and joined up support after mental health crises or discharge from hospital
  • continued promotion of service user involvement in designing and commissioning services
  • tackling stigma and promoting whole population mental health awareness
  • mental health training for specialist and non-specialist staff.

Key stakeholders have been identified and the process of developing the mental health and wellbeing strategy and associated action plan is underway by the public health and wellbeing division.

A father and three children lying down in the garden

For more information contact or to get involved please contact Steve Spiers, Programme Lead for Mental Health & Emotional Wellbeing.

[1] ONS 2012 mid-year population estimates for South Gloucestershire.

South Gloucestershire Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2013-2016. Available from