Early in 2014, we published our mental health action plan, Closing the gap: priorities for essential change, which sets out 25 areas for urgent action. The document challenges the health and social care community to move further and faster to transform care and support; the public health community, alongside local government, to give health and wellbeing promotion and prevention the long-overdue attention it needs and deserves; and individuals and communities to shift attitudes in mental health.
Public Health England was established on 1 April 2013 with the mission to protect and improve the nation’s health and to address inequalities through working with national and local government, the National Health Service, industry and the voluntary and community sector. It is supporting local councils and other partners to give greater attention to mental health within the public health system.
We have called on councils to do what we are doing as a Government and give parity of esteem to mental health, which also means parity in promotion and prevention.
An increasing number of councils are seeing investment in public health as investment in both physical and mental health. This includes ensuring that all major public health programmes consider and assess the impact on mental health. Much of local council spend and responsibilities impact on mental health, for example the provision of green spaces, recreation and leisure services, cycle routes, planning decisions, housing and community safety, social care, children and families services.
Healthy Lives, Healthy People commits to ring-fencing public health funding. Local councils have statutory responsibility for improving the health and wellbeing of their populations.