Public Health Co-ordinator
Mental wellbeing is the source of good health. Most unhealthy behaviours have their origins in poor mental wellbeing. Mental health and wellbeing are fundamental to quality of life, enabling people to experience life in a meaningful way, be creative and active citizens. Mental health means our ability to enjoy life and cope with its challenges. Mental illness is a problem that affects our mental health.
It is estimated that 1 in 4 of the UK population will experience a serious problem with their mental wellbeing at some point in their life – depression is the commonest contributing diagnosis listed for Scots visiting their GP. 40% more is spent on prescriptions for anti-depressants per head in Scotland than in England and sadly Scotland has one of the highest suicide rates amongst young men in Europe.
Mental health improvement incorporates and involves promoting good mental wellbeing, reducing the occurrence of mental health problems and improving the quality of life of those experiencing mental health problems. The capacity to promote mental wellbeing and to support those with mental ill health lies with a broad range of public services, the voluntary sector and significantly with individuals, families and communities.
Mental health is often an area which is overlooked and misunderstood. However, there is growing international recognition of the benefits of addressing mental wellbeing as a comprehensive approach to mental health.
Improved mental health and wellbeing is a key action to achieve the Scottish Government’s purpose of creating a more successful country with opportunities for all to flourish, and therefore to meet its longer term strategic outcomes of a Wealthier, Healthier, Fairer and Smarter, Safer and Stronger and Greener society.
In May 2009 the Scottish Government launched its mental health improvement plan called ‘Towards a Mentally Flourishing Scotland: Policy and Action Plan 2009-2011’ (see link below and link to title). The plan identifies a key role for local Government to develop, with Community Planning Partners and Community Health partnerships, local plans for delivery.
Mental Health is the specific remit of the following groups in Aberdeenshire
- The Mental Health Strategic Outcome Group
This group consists of representatives from NHS Grampian, Aberdeenshire Council, Third Sector (voluntary organisations) and Service Users and Carers directly or through reference groups. They agree what will be measured and monitored and used as indicators of the quality of services being provided.
The Strategic Outcome group reviews progress made on action plans on an annual basis and this is reported to the Health and Community Care Strategic Partnership and in turn to the Community Health Partnership Committee and the Housing and Social Work Committee
- Aberdeenshire Choose Life Steering Group
The Steering Group takes forward the national strategy and action plan to prevent suicide in Scotland. It meets on a bi-monthly basis, and is made up of representatives from a range of key stakeholders from Social Work, Education, Community Learning & Development, Police, NHS, Prison Service, Voluntary Sector and the Clergy.
- Children and Adolescent Mental Health Promotion Group
This group consists of members of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, Aberdeenshire Public Health Team, Aberdeenshire Education, Social Work and Psychological Services. This group has evolved from the Aberdeenshire CAMHS Strategy Group.
- Mental Health Improvement Action Plan for Aberdeenshire
Aberdeenshire’s Community Health Partnership: Health Improvement Group has recently developed a Mental Health Improvement Action plan and associated recording template. This document identifies the links to the Scottish Governments National Outcomes, local outcomes as identified in Aberdeenshire’s Single Outcome Agreement and the key strategic drivers and policy documents. It sets out a clear set of objectives and associated actions which will lead to the associated short term and intermediate outcomes. The plan and recording template will identify the individual and combined efforts of services. The aim is to, raise awareness of the mental health improvement agenda, create a common understanding of and definition of mental health and ensure mental health is explicit in Public and Voluntary Service provision as well as to promote the role of staff in mental health improvement.
- NHS Grampian CAMHS Leadership Group
This is a short term working group which was set up in April 2008 to respond to a National Leadership initiative concerned with taking forward Delivering for Mental Health, specifically Commitment 10. The group consists of members of CAMHS, Education, Social Work and Public Health. An action plan has been produced, titled ‘Mental Health in Schools – It’s everybody’s business’.
Key Strategic Documents
Towards A Mentally Flourishing Scotland: Policy and Action Plan 2009-2011 www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/271822/0081031.pdf
Equally Well – www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2008/06/25104032/0
With Inclusion In Mind – www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2007/10/18092957/11
The Early Years Framework – www.gov.scot/Publications/2009/01/13095148/0
Delivering for Mental Health (2006) – www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2006/11/30164829/0
Delivering for Health (2005) – www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2005/11/02102635/26356
Mental Health Action Plan for Europe (2005) – WHO Mental Health Action Plan for Europe [pdf, 233KB]
Mental Health Declaration for Europe (2005) – WHO Mental Health Declaration for Europe [pdf, 375KB]