It is January again, the start of a new year and perhaps new opportunities on the horizon. But for many people, January is also a very difficult time for their mental health. The financial crunch of the holiday season setting in and the dark, damp and dreary days can make many of us feel overwhelmed and perhaps undervalued.

 

Scrabble letters spelling out 'Mental Health'

Mental health problems are common, with 1 in 6 adults reporting a common mental health disorder, such as anxiety, in the last week –  and there are close to 551,000 people in England with more severe mental illness (SMI) such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Problems are often hidden, stigma is still widespread, and many people are not receiving support to access services.

Together with substance misuse, mental illness accounts for 21.3% of the total burden of disease in England. Poor mental health is estimated to carry an economic and social cost of £105 billion a year in England.

Mental health problems and suicide are preventable. Promoting good mental health will impact on physical health and many other aspects of people’s lives.

The services we offer at SEE are all designed with your mental health and the mental health of your employees/colleagues at the core.

Feeling secure in your job and having the right systems in place around you and your business is crucial. Remember, your health matters.

 

Taking action

 

Front-line health professionals

 

Front-line health professionals can:

  • use the Government’s Make every contact count resource, and take every opportunity to have brief conversations with people about making positive changes
  • incorporate psychological aspects of care within all care pathways
  • identify risk factors and symptoms of mental health problems
  • signpost and refer appropriately
  • identify risk factors and indicators for potential self-harm and suicide and support individuals who may present with suicidal thoughts and refer appropriately
  • guide individuals with existing mental health problems through health promotion advice – and support them to access services to improve their physical health and wellbeing (screening, health checks)
  • use basic coaching techniques to support an individual who may be experiencing mental distress

 

Team leaders or managers

 

Team leaders or managers can:

  • identify staff learning and development needs in relation to mental health and wellbeing – and provide access to appropriate training
  • build prevention and mental health promotion into day-to-day work
  • work collaboratively with colleagues and other teams, to raise awareness of mental health and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness
  • provide and promote healthier lifestyle choices within mental health settings – including healthier food options, access to physical activities, and support to reduce and stop smoking
  • work with other local services to meet people’s social needs – for example housing, employment and welfare
  • provide a psychologically safe environment for patients, visitors and staff and promote mental health in the workplace

 

Senior or strategic leaders

 

Senior or strategic leaders can:

  • understand the mental health needs of your local population using PHE’s Better mental health: JSNA toolkit
  • sign up to the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health. This is part of a wider drive to secure an increase in the implementation of public mental health approaches across the whole system
  • develop integrated systems to identify and support people with long term conditions who may experience mental health problems and to reduce the premature mortality of people with mental illness
  • work with community members, patient groups and other stakeholders to support collaborative action on improving mental health and wellbeing and reducing stigma associated with mental illness, including coproduction and community approaches

 

Many coloured hands

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

 

Resources and tools

 

The Public mental health collection provides a range of PHE resources to support national and local organisations to improve the public’s mental health.

The Health matters: reducing inequalities in mental illness outlines actions that local areas can take to reduce health inequalities experienced by people living with mental illness.

Suicide prevention resources and guidance provides help for local authorities, public health and care professionals, police forces, and others to prevent suicides in their areas.

Prevention concordat for better mental health provides resources to help local areas with prevention planning arrangements.

The Public mental health leadership and workforce framework can inform and influence the development of public health leadership and the workforce in relation to mental health.

Online tools intelligence and data provide up to date data and information about local mental health outcomes, risk factors and needs, as well as assets.

What Works Centre for Wellbeing collaborates with PHE and provides evidence, guidance and discussion papers on numerous topics.

Mental Health for Employers is a series of joint PHE and Business in the Community toolkits, that provide free, online to help every organisation support the mental health and wellbeing of its employees

The ‘Improving the mental health of children and young people’ reports support local commissioners that describe the importance of children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, the case for investing and evidence of what works to improve local services.

Suicide Prevention case studies and information sheets National Suicide Prevention Alliance website.

NHS England’s House of Care includes emotional and psychological support, in particular, the mental health and wellbeing of people with ‘physical’ health problems.

The Mental Health Core Skills Education and Training Framework is for staff who need general mental health awareness or have contact with people experiencing a mental health problem at work.

Training and information for practice and community nurses in mental health and wellbeing is provided by the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust.

Psychological support of people living with cancer was commissioned by London strategic clinical networks.

Five Ways to Wellbeing is a solution-focussed framework for working with individuals to take steps to improve their mental wellbeing.

Mental health awareness eLearning short programme aims to raise the awareness of mental health amongst health care staff.

Physical healthcare for people with mental health problems is evidence-based information to help mental health nurses improve the physical health and wellbeing of people living with mental health problems.

Breaking Down the Barriers aims to support the NHS workforce by providing awareness training materials to enhance existing skills, knowledge for early recognition, assessment, management and signposting of mental and physical health needs of patients.

NHS England has produced a practical toolkit for mental health trusts and commissioners, designed to help them improve the physical health of patients with serious mental illness. The toolkit looks at different approaches to implementing the Lester screening tool.

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