Public mental health and well-being: the local perspective

SCIE Social Care Online
NHS Confederation
Publication date:
01 January 2011


Government programmes, policies and national projects in the last 3 years have given increasing emphasis to public mental health and well-being. This has changed the focus of public service agencies towards promoting and protecting better mental health, not just among the unwell but across whole populations. This report presents the findings from a survey, semi-structured interviews and focus groups with local authority, primary care trust (PCT) and mental health provider chief executives, directors of public health and GPs. The research aimed to find out their perceptions of public mental health and well-being, the progress they have made on implementing this agenda, how they are acting on recent evidence, and the complementary nature of addressing mental illness and improving mental well-being. The report shows that improving mental well-being is a significant and growing priority in spite of, and because of, the poor economic situation. It is clear that building community resilience and improving mental well-being will improve social, health and economic outcomes. The report considers: the urgent and emergent priority of public mental health; using evidence and expertise; achieving social and economic goals through integrated working; reducing health inequalities; strong effective partnerships and system-wide approaches; empowering communities; measuring mental well-being; and economic impact and resilience. A number of ways to improve public health in a changing world are discussed.