Better prevent than cure
The Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health for All is one of the recommendations in NHS England’s Five Year Forward View for Mental Health to achieve the ambition of everyone seeing mental health as equally as important as physical health.
Do you give your mind the same care and attention as your body? Most of us don’t, and if we do, it often happens after reaching a point of distress that forces us to treat ourselves with more kindness.
When we look at this from a population perspective, evidence suggests that focussing on prevention is the best measure to avoid reaching that place of distress.
Part of my role in Public Health England is to explain to different audiences how the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health for All galvanises signatories into action, as well as advocating the importance of partners working together as whole local systems to prevent mental illness and promote positive mental wellbeing:
“The Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health is underpinned by an understanding that taking a prevention-focused approach to improving the public’s mental health is shown to make a valuable contribution to achieving a fairer and more equitable society. The Concordat promotes evidence-based planning and commissioning to increase the impact on reducing health inequalities. The sustainability and cost effectiveness of this approach will be enhanced by the inclusion of action that impacts on the wider determinants of mental health and wellbeing”.
The role of national organisations in prevention
Our work so far has largely focused on engaging local areas to sign up, but we are doing more to work with national VCSE organisations. We recognise the essential role you play in shaping the systems in which you work.
To address the wider circumstances that negatively affect our mental health, we must also recognise the invaluable support that national organisations provide to people through their lives and therefore make them part of the equation.
Similarly, to the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health for All, Equally Well works to facilitate and support collaborative working to plan and implement prevention activities that value people’s physical and mental health in parity.
The Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health for All brings the knowledge and expertise from members of National Voices, to create spaces to exchange and share lessons between partners.
Our efforts meet and complement when we recognise that mental health and physical health are entirely interconnected; and therefore, health prevention work must address both.