“Over 40,000 deaths could be prevented if people with serious mental illness received the same health care as the rest of the population.“ – Public Health England
“Mental Illness costs the UK £94bn a year, 4% of GDP” – OECD
Here at Pennine Lancashire Community Farm we’ve long known that there are links between mental health, physical health, economic deprivations and lack of access to green activities. It’s why we have taken an Eco-Therapy approach to our work, focus our activities in areas of multiple deprivation and utilise peer-to-peer learning.
Children’s activities too are equally important, as we have learned that one in eight children have a mental health problem and “25% 11-16 year olds with mental health difficulties had self-harmed or attempted to take their own life”.
As rates of mental disorders are increasing across all age ranges another area of work for us at PLCF is to assist people back into employment, it can be a means to increasing people’s wellbeing. Currently the employment rate for the population stands at 75.7%, according to NHS digital, although the employment rate of people with mental illness is considerably less, at 45.6%.
The mental health benefits of gardening are broad and diverse. Studies have shown significant reductions in depression and anxiety, improved social functioning and wider effects, including opportunities for vocational development.
So it’s important for PLCF to consider the results produced from the Quality Care Commission 2018 community mental health survey, and concerning to see ongoing decreases in services.
We have been advocating for a greater use of social prescribing, which is a way of linking patients in primary care with sources of support within the community to help improve their health and well-being. This is an approach that the current Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has advocated too. We have to demonstrate that as the third sector continues to address the gaps found in the survey, it’s in a manner that is comparable to NHS services, and it’s provable. Therefore to ensure effective social prescriptions requires appropriate investment in charities, in being able to employ comparative controls and standardised, validated measuring tools.
There is potential to significantly increase the mental health provision in the UK through selective social prescribing, but it can’t be done without granting organisations the resources to adequately improve its skills, retain and train staff and equip standardised reporting.
- Mental health conditions often go untreated and, historically, treatment options for mental health conditions are less effective than for physical conditions. Across mental health services, there is evidence of demographic inequalities in who is receiving treatment. Those most likely to report having treatment were female, White British, and aged between 35 and 54. People from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups are less likely to access mental health treatment than the general population.
- All respondents were asked if they had received any NHS therapies for their mental health needs that did not involve medicines in the last 12 months. Less than half (46%) said that they had.
- There are strong links between physical and mental health problems. The King’s Fund reported that almost half of people with a mental health condition also have a long-term physical health problem
- All respondents were asked whether, in the last 12 months, NHS mental health services had given them help or advice with finding support for physical health needs. Of those who needed or wanted this type of support, only 30% said that they ‘definitely’ received this, a significant decrease of five percentage points compared with 2017.
- Only 23% said that in the previous 12 months, NHS mental health services ‘definitely’ gave them help or advice with finding support for finding or keeping work, a significant decrease compared with 2017
- Respondents were asked whether they had been given information by NHS mental health services about getting support from people who have experience of the same mental health needs as them. Of the respondents who wanted this, there was a significant decrease in the respondents that answered ‘Yes, definitely’, from 2017 (23%) to 2018 (20%)