Derby City Council has become the first local authority in the East Midlands to sign up to the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health.

The concordat promotes a cross-sector approach to promoting better mental health, and using preventative measures to promote positive mental wellbeing and halt mental ill health before it has the chance to take hold.

Without action on the increasing demand for mental health services, it will not be possible to absorb the rising costs of providing care and support for those experiencing mental ill health in the long term.

In signing up, the Council has set out several proactive and preventative objectives for 2018/19 in order to continue promoting better mental health for Council employees, and the people Derby. These objectives will be presented to the Health & Wellbeing Board for discussion and approval:

  • Increase the focus on prevention and the wider determinants of health in Joined Up Care Derbyshire
  • Promote use of parks, allotments, green and blue spaces
  • Promote volunteering and tackle social isolation
  • Help more people with mental health problems get back to, and stay in, employment
  • Promote the positive emotional wellbeing of children and young people
  • Work to create places that promote positive mental health
  • Provide mental health first aid training to key staff across the Council
  • Develop wellbeing champions across the Council
  • Update our Mental Health JSNA, incorporating indicators for risk and protective factors
  • Champion our local community protective factors
  • Facilitate promotion of community events / groups

Councillor Martin Repton is the Council’s Cabinet Member for Integrated Health and Care. He is also an ex-mental health professional with over 20 years’ experience in the area, and a Mental Health Champion for the Council. He said:

“There is overwhelming evidence that suggests preventative, early intervention is beneficial to both an individual person, and to society. I have spoken openly about the need for this topic to be highlighted.

“Mental health doesn’t discriminate. One in four people will experience some form of mental ill health at some stage in their lives, and that is why I thought it was so important that we get involved in this.

“I’m extremely proud to be the first East Midlands local authority to sign up, and I hope that others will follow suit. By pledging to be part of this concordat, we will continue and build on our work with the local community, and keep mental health at the core of what we as a Council do.”

The concordant sets out a statement, describing a shared commitment from signatories to work together, through local and national action, to prevent mental health problems and promote good mental health.

The Council agrees that:

  1. To transform the health system, we must increase the focus on prevention and the wider determinants of mental health. We recognise the need for a shift towards prevention-focussed leadership and action throughout the mental health system; and into the wider system. In turn, this will impact positively on the NHS and social care system by enabling early help through the use of upstream interventions.
  2. There must be joint cross-sectoral action to deliver an increased focus on the prevention of mental health problems and the promotion of good mental health in Derby. This should draw on the expertise of people with lived experience of mental health problems, and the wider community, to identify solutions and promote equality.
  3. We will promote a prevention-focused approach towards improving the public’s mental health, as all our organisations have a role to play.
  4. We will work collaboratively across organisational boundaries and disciplines to secure place-based improvements that are tailored to local needs and assets, in turn increasing sustainability and the effective use of limited resources.
  5. We will build the capacity and capability across our workforce to prevent mental health problems and promote good mental health, as outlined in the Public Mental Health Leadership and Workforce Development Framework Call to Action.