Failure to urgently invest in #MentalHealth and other vital local services will undermine efforts to boost the country in the next phases of the pandemic, councils in England warn today (6 Aug).  

The Local Government Association, which represents councils, said people’s mental wellbeing will play a crucial role in every aspect of recovery planning, including schools reopening, workers returning from furlough, people who have been shielding, and in dealing with the economic and housing consequences of coronavirus, as well as planning for possible further spikes in infections.

In a new joint report the LGA and the Centre for Mental Health said a national focus is needed on helping everyone stay mentally well, including those affected by COVID-19, backed-up by funding for councils to spend with local partners, including the voluntary and community sector, on meeting their communities’ mental wellbeing needs. 

With mental health problems costing UK employers £35 billion a year in sickness absence, reduced productivity and staff turnover, the report said a further shift in national focus and funding away from treating mental ill-health and towards a locally-led approach to promoting people’s mental wellbeing throughout their lives, will help to prevent more serious problems from developing, whilst enabling earlier intervention and targeted support for those who need it. 

The LGA and Centre for Mental Health say sufficient and sustainable local funding is needed to make this possible, as well as to address the wider social and economic challenges which can contribute towards poor mental health.

The total cost to society of mental health problems in the UK was £119 billion in 2018/19 and research found that children from the poorest 20 per cent of households are four times as likely to have serious mental health difficulties by the age of 11 than those from the wealthiest 20 per cent.

Studies of several councils across the country, highlighted in the report, show four common principles in how to improve population mental health, reduce inequalities and prevent mental ill health in their communities:

  • Public mental health as everybody’s business: health and wellbeing of the local population is the responsibility of every part of the council and the wider community;
  • Collaboration: councils working together with other parts of the system, such as the NHS, and closely involving community groups and other partners;
  • Place-based approaches: using the concept of ‘place’ to encourage residents and organisations to get involved with the wider health and wellbeing agenda;
  • Taking a holistic approach: using a wide range of approaches and strategies in tackling the determinants of mental ill-health.

Libraries, leisure, housing, money advice and other essential council-run services, alongside statutory mental health services and public health, all play a crucial part in supporting people’s mental wellbeing.

The report also reveals how a snapshot of councils have been able to maintain focus on mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak by using digital technology, flexible commissioning and developing new resources, alongside existing approaches to health promotion and the prevention of mental health problems.

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: 

“Good mental health is in everyone’s interest, especially as we look to move into the next phase of the pandemic.

“The lockdown had a profound impact on everyone, leaving many of us unable to go to work or school, meet family and friends, go to the shops or take part in leisure and cultural activities. The very things that support our mental wellbeing and which we often took for granted, were suddenly taken away.

“Councils have always had an important role in improving and maintaining people’s mental wellness, from childhood to old age, but coronavirus has proven the value of this more than ever.

“Our mental health is so closely linked with other essential areas of our lives, including housing, employment, social inclusion and economic development. Councils are uniquely placed to use their services to connect all parts of this system together and help ensure the country is prepared for the future.

“As this report states, we need to refocus our policies and funding towards these preventative local services, to help reduce health inequalities and ensure better mental health for all.”

Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive of the Centre for Mental Health, said:

“The pandemic has been a difficult time for many. As evidence emerges of a rising tide of mental health problems, it is more important than ever to proactively support communities to have good mental health.

“This report demonstrates how all councils can champion better mental health by setting clear and ambitious goals, working arm-in-arm with communities, developing good relationships with the NHS and other system partners, and embracing mental health as part of all their responsibilities. We must learn from the positive practice on display in these case studies and further afield.

“The leadership, commitment, energy, and compassion we have seen is inspiring but we know this alone is not enough. Local authorities must be adequately funded in recognition of their potential to support resilience in their communities, tackle health inequality, and limit the human and financial cost of mental health problems.”

You can view the report here. The report was commissioned before the pandemic but the Centre revisited a number of the case studies in June. 

Centre for Mental Health research on the cost of mental health to the UK economy can be found here.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page