“The Government’s prevention green paper offers some tentative steps towards better health for all by 2030 but falls far short of what is needed to create a healthy future,” Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sarah Hughes said today.
“The green paper rightly talks about the risk and protective factors for mental health and the need to address them to promote wellbeing and reduce inequalities. It is short, however, on solutions to address them. Investing in evidence based parenting programmes, local public health services and youth work, for example, will be essential if we are to address the determinants of our mental health.
“We welcome the ambitions to end smoking by 2030 and to improve children’s health and prevent type 2 diabetes. None of these will be possible unless we acknowledge the psychological stresses and strains that undermine people’s physical health. And we need concerted action to support physical health for people with mental health conditions. Our Equally Well campaign is supporting action to bring back the ‘stolen years’ and we need the whole of the NHS to get behind this effort.
“The green paper is particularly light on solutions to address health inequalities. Poverty, housing insecurity, isolation and discrimination all drive poor mental and physical health. So we need a whole government approach to tackling every aspect of health inequality. The green paper makes a tentative step in that direction but it must go much further to put health in all policies across government: including in education, social security, justice and housing.
“We call on the Government to build on the ideas in this green paper to produce a stronger vision for prevention in the next decade. It must invest now in public health, social care, early years and youth services that can work in and with communities to improve health and reduce inequalities. It must produce a whole government mental health strategy. And it must embed the public’s mental health in all decisions to promote and protect our wellbeing for generations to come.”