The Kent Mental Health & Wellbeing Index is out!

The Kent Mental Health & Wellbeing Index is out! constructed from 70 measures of a wide range of individual, household and area aspects of wellbeing.  It has been constructed at Ward-level, and provides an assessment of the relative assets and vulnerabilities of an area in respect of the mental health and wellbeing of the population within it. It has a range of applications including assessing need, providing of focus for preventative action and supporting strategic decision making with regard to service provision.   The accompanying technical report (PDF, 2.2 MB) provides a detailed description of the approach, the framework used, the indicators selected and the construction of the final index

Kent Council

Health Matters: Getting every adult active every day

One in four women and one in five men in England are physically inactive, doing less than 30 minutes moderate physical activity a week- says Health Matters

The guidelines recommend muscle strengthening activities twice a week, but only 34% of men and 24% of women are achieving this.

So why are so many adults struggling to be physically active?  Many people equate physical activity to sweaty gym sessions, and are put off by this, and do not realise that moderate physical activity can be achieved through everyday life through activities such as:

  • brisk walking
  • dancing
  • cycling
  • gardening

As long as the activity causes you to get warmer and breathe harder and for your heart to beat faster then it counts as moderate physical activity. Any physical activity is better than none. As little as 10 minutes of moderate physical activity at a time provides numerous health benefits.  Physical activity can help to prevent and manage over 20 chronic conditions and diseases, including some cancers, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and depression.

Persuading inactive people  to become more active could prevent one in ten cases of stroke and heart disease in the UK and one in six deaths from any cause. In fact it’s often said that if physical activity was a drug it would be classed as a wonder drug.

That’s why the latest strategy from Sport England focuses, for the first time, on encouraging inactive and underrepresented groups to become more active. This is where the greatest individual, community and economic gains can be made.

This edition of Health Matters adopts PHE’s national physical activity framework, Everybody Active Every Day, which identifies four areas for local and national action that can help to get people active.

  1. Active Society – People are more likely to be active if it is seen as ‘normal’, and if their friends and peers are also active.
  2. Moving professionals – 1 in 4 patients would be more active if advised by a GP or nurse.
  3. Active environments – Our homes, workplaces and local environments should be designed to encourage physically active.
  4. Moving at scale – Positive change needs to happen at every level, in every region and be measurable.

Read the physical activity edition of Health Matters for more on what local authorities and health professionals can do to get the nation active




Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers – new CQC report on the state of integrated care for older people

The Health and care regulator for England, the Care Quality Commission’s published a report on the state of integrated care for older people in England-  Building bridges, Breaking Barriers”    The report looks at how different health and care services work together to support the needs of older people in England. It warns that despite a widespread commitment for integration across the sectors, progress is needed to better support people who use a number of services, reduce hospital admissions and avoid confusion about where to go for help. building-bridges

Implementing the Five Year Forward View

‘Implementing the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health’ was published 20th July. It details the improvements people will see on the ground as  the independent Mental Health Taskforce’s recommendations are implemented.

Intended as a blueprint for the changes that the NHS needs to make to improve mental health, the plan sets out what the public and people who use services  can expect from the NHS, and when.

The report outlines how new funding, pledged in response to the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, will be made available for Clinical Commissioning Groups year on year. It also shows how the workforce requirements will be delivered in each priority area and outlines how data, payment and other system levers will support transparency.

the European Social Survey – Looking through the wellbeing kaleidoscope.

The report is the culmination of a year-long project led by the Centre for Comparative Social Surveys at City University London, working alongside the New Economics Foundation, and the Wellbeing Institute at the University of Cambridge.

Whilst much useful wellbeing research has relied upon life satisfaction as an overall measure of wellbeing –  this project took advantage of the richness of the European Social Survey, which has now included two specific modules on wellbeing, to explore its multi-dimensionality.

Here are eight of the most interesting things you’ll find in the report:

  • Results for a new comprehensive psychological wellbeing measure. It incorporates ten different aspects of wellbeing – competence, emotional stability, engagement, meaning, optimism, positive emotion, positive relationships, resilience, self-esteem, and vitality.
  • The UK ranks second from bottom in terms of sense of vitality. As well as the overall comprehensive score, the report explores how different elements of wellbeing vary between countries. For example.  The UK relatively well in terms of optimism (8th out of 21 countries),  but not so well in terms of vitality or positive relationships (16th out of 21).
  • There are often large differences in wellbeing between population groups, but they are not inevitable. Although those of an ethnic minority, on low incomes or with low education often have lower average wellbeing, this is not always the case, with some countries showing almost no difference. This suggests that policy could aim to reduce or eliminate these inequalities.
  • Unemployment rates and governance are the key determinants of wellbeing inequalities.Not only is unemployment and poor governance bad for average wellbeing, but they are further associated with inequalities in wellbeing.
  • People in the UK how low levels of participation in the five ways to wellbeing, compared to peer countries such as France and Germany. The five ways to wellbeing are a set of actions that evidence suggests promote wellbeing. They are: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, and Give.  With the exception of those aged 65 and over, the UK generally had low levels of participation in the five ways,
  • Young women (15 – 24), parents, and people doing housework or childcare in the UK reported very low rates on Take Notice (whether people take notice and appreciate their surroundings). This finding was not replicated across Europe, suggesting there may be particular barriers in the UK for these population groups which may be amenable to policy.
  • The more marginalised groups in society – women, those who claim membership of a discriminated group, and those with lower education – have a lower level of perceived quality of society. This is measured in terms of assessments of the key institutions in society: trust in the police, politicians, parliament and legal institutions, and satisfaction with public services, government, the economy, and democracy. Those in middle aged groups (25 to 64) also have more negative views. This suggests that our democratic and legal institutions may need to do more to engage with these groups.
  • There are marked regional inequalities in perceived quality of society within the UK, with London and the South East having high levels of economic and governmental satisfaction compared to other regions, particularly the Midlands.

‘From Mental Illness to a Social Model of Madness and Distress- report

From Mental Illness to a Social Model of Madness and Distress‘ report has been produced by Peter Beresford, Rebecca Perring, Mary Nettle and Jan Wallcraft. The Report introduction states that …’These are highly contradictory times for mental health policy and services in the UK. Mental health seems to be high on political and media agendas. An important new idea, ‘recovery’ has been prioritized in mental health provision. This emphasizes that people with mental health problems can recover and play a full part in society again and should not be written off’.  The full pdf report




City University – diabetes and mental health research

Researchers at City University London would like to recruit people with Type 2 diabetes who are aged 18 or over and have a mental health diagnosis (psychosis, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or bipolar disorder) to take part in a short survey to find out about the diabetes care they receive and their experiences:

For more information please contact Frederique:

A £2 donation will be donated to diabetes or mental health charities for each completed questionnaire.

Researchers at City University London would also like to invite healthcare professionals to take part in a short survey, which asks about your experience of delivering care for type 2 diabetes in people with severe mental illness. The researchers are inviting GPs, Practice Nurses, Diabetes Specialist Nurses, Mental Health Nurses, Psychiatrists and Diabetologists to take part in the survey and hope this is a welcome opportunity for you to express your views on this topic:

For more information please contact Frederique:

Are workplace benefits beneficial?

Benefits are, clearly, helpful in attracting people to work in organisations.The provision of benefits is always something that is nice for employees to have but benefits alone do not contribute to facilitating peak performance.

Other factors do that.  People perform when they have the feeling that:

  • their work makes a difference,
  • they are valued, and
  • they contribute to the success of the organisation.

For peak performance, organisations need to create the conditions where the events and behaviours that cause stress are eliminated and the triggers that provoke people to feel psychologically well are introduced.

Strain and stress are major inhibitors to performance.  They cost organisations significant amounts of money – often much more than the cost of benefits. It is only by creating the culture, leadership and the working environment in which individuals can thrive psychologically, that the peak performance of the workforce will be achieved.   Feeling psychologically well, and being motivated, produces people who thrive, work intensively and perform at their peak. Then add to this some benefits and the workforce will be flourishing, and the organisation brilliantly successful. Click to download Prof Mowbray’s full article.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Linked to Reduced Depressive Relapse Risk

Oxford Mindfulness Centre The largest meta-analysis so far of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for recurrent depression has found that MBCT is an effective treatment option that can help prevent the recurrence of major depression. The study used anonymised individual patient data from nine randomized trials of MBCT. It suggests that for the millions of people who suffer recurrent depression it provides a treatment choice and an alternative or addition to other approaches such as maintenance anti-depressants.

 Major depression is a significant public health problem. Without ongoing treatment, as many as four out of five people with depression relapse at some point.  MBCT is a group-based psychological treatment that helps people change the way they think and feel about their experiences and learn skills that reduce the likelihood of further episodes of depression.

Across the nine trials, 38% of those who received MBCT had a depressive relapse within 60 weeks’ follow-up, in contrast to 49% of those who did not receive MBCT. Taking the time to relapse into account, people who received MBCT were 31% less likely to relapse during the 60-week follow-up compared with those who did not receive MBCT.

Richard Byng, Professor of Primary Care, University of Plymouth and one of the co-authors said,

While the evidence is from a relatively small number of trials, it is encouraging for patients and clinicians to have another option. There was insufficient data to examine which types of patient or context predict who would benefit most. This, along with varied individual study and wide combined study confidence intervals, means that clinicians need to be cautiously optimistic when tapering off antidepressant medication, and treat each patient as an individual who may or may not benefit from both MBCT and other effective treatments.”

Read the abstract of the research paper here.

Older People’s health and Wellbeing Profile (04/16)

Public Health England has launched the Older People’s Health and Wellbeing profile which can be used to examine the health and care of older people across local authorities in England.This tool enables identification, comparison and monitoring of trends through interactive maps and charts of over 100 indicators. The Atlas is designed to support those responsible for delivering strategies for prevention and early intervention to improve the health and wellbeing of older adults, as well as those providing evidence and intelligence to support the development of Joint Strategic Needs Assessments for their local area.