This guide is about the commissioning of public mental health interventions to reduce the burden of mental disorder, enhance mental wellbeing, and support the delivery of a broad range of outcomes relating to health, education and employment.
Public mental health involves:
- an assessment of the risk factors for mental disorder, the protective factors for wellbeing, and the levels of mental disorder and wellbeing in the local population
- the delivery of appropriate interventions to promote wellbeing, prevent mental disorder, and treat mental disorder early
- ensuring that people at ‘higher risk’ of mental disorder and poor wellbeing are proportionately prioritised in assessment and intervention delivery.
Good evidence exists for a range of public mental health interventions. These can reduce the burden of mental disorder, enhance mental wellbeing, and support the delivery of a broad range of outcomes relating to health, education and employment.
Public mental health is a central part of the work of Health and Wellbeing Boards, which are responsible for developing strategic plans to address the public health of a local population.
Despite evidence based interventions with a broad range of impacts, only a minority of people with a mental disorder currently receive any treatment. Furthermore, spending on the prevention of mental disorder and promotion of mental health represents less than 0.001% of the annual NHS mental health budget.
Investment in the promotion of mental wellbeing, prevention of mental disorder and early treatment of mental disorder results in significant economic savings even in the short term. Due to the broad impact of mental disorder and wellbeing, these savings occur in health, social care, criminal justice and other public sectors.