Council committed to tackling mental health in Doncaster

Doncaster Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board has committed to tackling poor mental health by signing up to the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health from Public Health England (PHE).

Working closely with PHE, the board is making significant steps towards promoting good mental health and preventing mental health problems.

Dr Rupert Suckling and Councillor Rachael Blake

Dr Rupert Suckling and Councillor Rachael Blake

One in six adults experiences at least one diagnosable mental health problem in their lifetime. This is influenced by the environment in which we are born, grow, live and work, meaning many of these problems can be prevented.

Having good mental health is important because it can help individuals to be more resilient, feel good and function well, have more positive relationships with those around them and deal with difficult times now and in the future.

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The concordat describes a shared commitment to preventing mental health problems and to promoting good mental health. Developed by a partnership of statutory and voluntary sector organisations, and in conjunction with people who have experienced mental health problems, the concordat calls for a range of national and local action on mental health, including:

transformation of the health system so it has prevention-focused leadership, enabling help and support to be provided much earlier and therefore avoid mental health crisis

collaboration to improve the public’s mental health

drawing on the expertise of people with experience of mental health problems and for the wider community to identify solutions and promote equality

building the capacity and capability across the health and care workforce

Dr Rupert Suckling, Director of Public Health at Doncaster Council, said: “Mental health is vital and just as important as our physical health. We already work closely with health partners across the borough and by committing to the Public Health England Prevention Concordat we aim to further increase local understanding of mental health and reduce the stigma that can be often associated with it.”

Councillor Rachael Blake, Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “We are committed to improving mental health in Doncaster and signing up to the concordat is just one of the steps we are taking locally. Through the Health and Wellbeing board I intend to continue our joint approach to mental health service improvement and recognise the importance of local health and social care organisations working in partnership.”

Promoting good mental health is everyone’s responsibility and can only be achieved if organisations – including local authorities, NHS trusts, businesses, local communities, and religious groups – work together at a local and national level.

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Lily Makurah, national lead for public mental health at PHE, said: “We’re delighted that Doncaster Council has joined the growing list of organisations signing up to our Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health.

“This is designed to help communities promote good mental health and prevent mental health problems. Through local and national action across sectors, we can all contribute to improving mental health and wellbeing and reducing stigma for everyone.”

“By signing up to the concordat, the council is not only showing public leadership in addressing mental health problems in local communities; they are also putting effective prevention planning arrangements in place, using resources from PHE.”

As well as recognising that mental health is as important as physical health, this represents a movement away from stigma and fear, and towards achieving a fairer and more equal society.