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The mental health of the nation has never been so under threat

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The mental health of the nation has never been so under threat The mental health of the nation has never been so under threat

The mental health of the nation has never been so under threat

Posted by Fiona Duncan, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Durham University

Lockdowns and self-isolation, increasing care demands, concern for others, and ongoing uncertainty are exacerbated by a reinforcing 24-hour news and opinion cycle, playing havoc with our stress and anxiety levels and battering our overall sense of wellbeing. The coronavirus crisis.

However, for many people across the country, a feeling of their wellbeing being under attack is not new. Experiences of overwhelming debt, long-term unemployment, insecure housing, poverty, food insecurity, social isolation lasting months or years and/or discrimination are common and can collectively chronically diminish the mental health of the public as a whole.

These normal and extraordinary circumstances raise the question of how the mental health of an entire population can be supported, or in other words, how can we improve public mental health (PMH)" Over the past year, I have had the privilege of investigating this complex question in detail within Fuse.

My work has primarily involved mapping interventions currently being delivered to improve PMH, exploring models of good practice and searching for emerging innovative ideas. This focused on two areas ? Blackburn with Darwen, and Redcar and Cleveland ? which were selected on the basis of mental health statistics and varying characteristics (e.g. rurality, deprivation etc.).

I found this mapping exercise a great opportunity to get out and about and talk to people who organise and deliver projects to improve PMH on the ground in their local area. I spoke to a lot of very helpful people who were very passionate about the work they did and it was inspiring to hear about the variety of innovative projects that were being provided for people in these local authority areas to promote good mental health and prevent mental illness.

One of our main findings was that interventions to prevent social isolation and loneliness by providing various social activities were most common. This may reflect how recent campaigns surrounding reducing social isolation in older adults have influenced policy. Although a multitude of individual, family, community and structural factors influence PMH, not all of these were addressed. Does this suggest a wider variety of interventions are required in the future or would it be better to develop interventions which have the ability to target multiple factors at the same time" For instance, interventions which increase social networks within society, self-confidence or self-efficacy may enable people to deal with many different threats to their mental health without having to use a specific service.

An interesting finding of this mapping exercise was that a lot of these interventions either hadn?t been evaluated at all or only a very basic evaluation had been carried out so there was very little objective evidence regarding their effectiveness. This is something we hope to address in the ne...
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The mental health of the nation has never been so under threat The mental health of the nation has never been so under threat


News source: Fuse
Publication date: 03-04-2020 16:03
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