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Mental Health

Department of Health written question – answered on 2nd February 2016.

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Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Shadow Minister (Mental Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he has taken to support local authorities in dealing with loneliness as a public health issue.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Minister of State, Department of Health

The Government has prioritised prevention through the Care Act 2014. The Department has funded the Social Care Institute for Excellence to develop and run the Prevention Library which includes examples of emerging practice to prevent, reduce or delay deterioration in people’s care and support needs. This includes examples of innovative projects to tackle loneliness. The Department has also supported a ‘digital toolkit’ for local commissioners, which was developed by the Campaign to End Loneliness and is incorporated in its guidance for commissioners. The guidance can be found at:

http://campaigntoendloneliness.org/toolkit/

As part of Public Health England’s programme of work to support local action on health inequalities, it commissioned the University College London’s Institute of Health Equity to produce a series of resources setting out practical approaches that local areas could adopt to reduce health inequalities. One resource in the series focuses on social isolation across the lifecourse. It provides information and guidance to support local authorities, National Health Service clinical commissioning groups and their stakeholders to develop effective strategies to prevent and reduce social isolation.

The Secretary of State made a speech at the National Children and Adult Services conference in 2013 and at the Local Government Association annual conference in June 2015 about loneliness and isolation in older people which can be found at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24572231 and

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/01/invite-lonely-elderly-strangers-home-jeremy-hunt

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