Public Health England (PHE) has launched a new tool for local public health teams identifying the most cost effective mental health programmes

Public Health England (PHE) yesterday (30 August) launched a new tool for local public health teams identifying the most cost effective mental health programmes. Major health bodies have thrown their support behind it and have signed a statement of intent. The Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health is supported by agencies including NHS England, the Local Government Association, NICE, the Faculty of Public Health and Association of Directors of Public Health.
 

The tool was developed in partnership with leading economists at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the programmes it identifies are stated as proven to reduce the incidence and/or risk of mental health problems at all stages of life: children and young people, the working age population and older people. The cost of which is estimated at £105 billion a year. One of the 8 initiatives listed is an innovative resilience programme in schools which they claim will result in an estimated saving of £5.08 for every £1 invested (over 3 years).

The ACP welcomes investment in mental health and harnessing resources to change lives. However, investing in the the lives of those affected by mental health problems, especially the young, requires building relationships and having an in-depth understanding of those difficulties and histories, beyond the financial costs and sums. We believe that the role of specialists such as child and adolescent psychotherapists as part of comprehensive system of treatment and support, is vital in assessing what is needed and key to the success of such programmes.

The full list of programmes identified in the “Return on Investment” tool are:

  • Children: whole school anti bullying programme - every £1 invested results in an estimated saving to society of £1.58 (over 4 years)
  • Children: social and emotional learning - every £1 invested results in an estimated saving to society of £5.08 (over 3 years)
  • Workplace: wellbeing programme - every £1 invested results in an estimated saving to society of £2.37 (over 1 year)
  • Workplace: stress prevention - every £1 invested results in an estimated saving to society of £2.00 (over 2 years)
  • Collaborative care for physical health problems - every £1 invested results in an estimated saving to society of £1.52 (over 2 years)
  • Older people: tackling loneliness through volunteering and social activities - every £1 invested results in an estimated saving to society of £1.26 (over 5 years)
  • Adults: debt and welfare service - every £1 invested results in an estimated saving to society of £2.60 (over 5 years)
  • Adults: suicide prevention - every £1 invested results in an estimated saving to society of £2.93 (over 10 years)

Alongside the tool, PHE has published several other evidence-based resources that will help local areas create effective public health systems that can prevent as well as treat mental ill health.

The Consensus statement reads: 

This consensus statement describes the shared commitment of the organisations signed below to work together via the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health, through local and national action, to prevent mental health problems and promote good mental health.

The undersigned organisations agree 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 at local level. 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 Action1.
  6. We believe local areas will benefit from adopting the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health.
  7. We are committed to supporting local authorities, policy makers, NHS clinical commissioning groups and other commissioners, service providers, employers and the voluntary and community sector to adopt this Concordat and its approach.   
Health Minister Lord O’Shaughnessy saidImproving the nation’s mental health is a government priority. The tool and resources published today will give public services the evidence they need to ensure spending on mental health is as cost effective as possible.It is part of a broad and ambitious plan to combat mental illness, which includes the first ever access and waiting time standards and record levels of public spending on mental health provision.

Professor Martin Knapp, Director of PSSRU at LSE said: From our research in this field, there is good evidence for these (and other) interventions for mental health promotion and prevention. Our work, led by David McDaid, has concentrated on the likely returns on investment that adopting these interventions will make and bring to local areas. This work is good news for mental health and good news for encouraging a focus on prevention alongside care and treatment.

To read more about the tool and to see the full list of resources click here