Mental health: adults and older people

Content last reviewed: April 2017


Mental health is everyone’s business and good mental health and resilience are fundamental to our physical health, relationships, education, training, work and to achieving our potential.

The government produced the document ‘No health without mental health’ in 2011. This strategy took a life course approach, recognising that the foundations for lifelong wellbeing should begin to be laid down before birth, and that there is much we can do to protect and promote wellbeing and resilience through our early years, into adulthood and then on into a healthy old age. Only a sustained approach across the life course will equip us to meet the social, economic and environmental challenges we face and deliver the short- and long-term benefits we need. ‘No health without mental health’ set out six objectives:

  • More people will have good mental health
  • More people with mental health problems will recover
  • More people with mental health problems will have good physical health
  • More people will have a positive experience of care and support
  • Fewer people will suffer avoidable harm
  • Fewer people will experience stigma and discrimination

It is paramount that parity of esteem is understood when discussing Mental Health Services. It is simply the aim that services for the treatment of mental health conditions are on a par in terms of access, investment profile and quality as physical health:

  • Mental illnesses are very common yet only a quarter of those with mental illness are in treatment. In Bedfordshire it is estimated that only around 10% of people with mental illness access treatment or support.
  • Among people under 65, nearly half of all ill health is mental illness. Within the CCG budget we spend approximately 15% of the budget on mental health services.
  • Mental illness is generally more debilitating than most chronic physical conditions and imposes a total economic and social cost of over £105bn a year. (Nationally?)
  • People with poor physical health are at higher risk of experiencing mental health problems and people with poor mental health are more likely to have poor physical health. There is very little mental health support to people experiencing significant illness (such as Cancer) or for patients with Long Term Conditions. Evidence suggests that access to psychological therapies increases the likelihood that patients will manage their own health.

In terms of the social factors which affect mental health, people from certain backgrounds and social situations are significantly at greater risk.  Despite welcome new attitudes in society which are far more accepting of mental health issues, many sufferers still find they have to face barriers in society such as employment, healthcare, family, support and community which people in good mental health take for granted.

Last updated Tuesday, 25th April 2017