The Government set up the Better Mental Health Fund to address mental health difficulties arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) was responsible for its administration. The funding aimed to reduce mental health inequalities by targeting at risk and vulnerable groups.
Funding was offered to 40 local authorities in England to commission evidence based interventions to improve mental health and mental wellbeing in local communities. These local authorities have some of the highest levels of deprivation, where mental health is at its poorest.
Centre for Mental Health was appointed to evaluate the Better Mental Health Fund nationally. We’ve been working with the local areas taking part to understand how they have used the Fund to improve mental health and wellbeing in their communities and what they have learnt in the process.
Local councils have used the Better Mental Health Fund to support a wide range of activities to promote mental health. These include:
- Parenting programmes
- Social and emotional learning programmes
- Whole school approaches
- Projects promoting mental wellbeing in the workplace
- Projects supporting people facing financial insecurity
- Befriending and projects addressing loneliness
- Bereavement support
- Community wellbeing projects
- Mental health awareness and literacy programmes
Projects supported through the Better Mental Health Fund have taken a life course approach to boosting mental health and mental wellbeing with many focusing on children and young people, families, working-age people, older people, people with mental health conditions as well as targeting marginalised groups.
Watch this video showcasing some of the projects supported by the Better Mental Health Fund:
Podcast: What we’ve been learning
David Woodhead speaks to Angela Burns (a public health programme manager in Tower Hamlets), and Graeme Greig (a senior public health practitioner at South Tyneside council) to hear how they’ve been using the fund to improve the mental health of their local communities. They talk about working with the voluntary sector, delivering mental health support across cultures, and what real impact looks like. Read the full transcript here.
Examples of Better Mental Health Fund projects
Suicide prevention in Birmingham:
The Black Men’s Consortium in Lambeth: