New report aims to help tackle Leeds mental health inequalities

Mental Health

A new report from Leeds City Council’s public health team has reviewed mental health needs in the city and makes recommendations to improve access to healthcare and unequal health outcomes.

With more than 100,000 people in Leeds estimated to experience mental health problems each year, the council believes it is vital for mental health to be treated as ‘everyone’s business’.

The mental health needs assessment looks carefully at service provision and need across the city. It also looks at causes of mental ill health and these include debt, long term health conditions, caring responsibilities, unemployment, social isolation and issues such as trauma and abuse.

Cllr Rebecca Charlwood, Chair of Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said:

“Mental Health is central to all health, and it doesn’t just affect individuals, but also their families, friends, colleagues and communities. It also has a major impact on the city’s economy, with an estimated cost of over £500 million every year. We also know that some communities and some people in the city face more likelihood of experiencing problems than others, including some BME communities and those who are less well-off.

“Leeds has made a commitment to giving mental health equal importance with physical health and we have many excellent examples of good practice. But as with other areas, we face significant pressures on services and this analysis will help us focus on the priorities in the future.”

The report suggests that lost economic output, benefits payments, and the costs incurred by the health and social care system means that investment in well-targeted and delivered services could actually save the city over £1million per year.

Hannah Howe, Director, Forum Central, the Leeds health and social care third sector network, said:

“Mental health is as key a part of our health as physical health and it is great that the council have done this excellent piece of analysis to help the city better understand the mental health needs in Leeds and to support us all to continue to make a difference across the city. Leeds has a wide range of statutory and third sector mental health support and expertise and this report will be a valuable addition to the information we have to plan our services and map out where needs are greatest.”

Victoria Eaton, Leeds City Council Consultant in Public Health specialising in Mental Health, said:

“We have worked closely with partners to identify the city’s mental health needs and develop these recommendations to address them. We know that across Leeds people are increasingly aware of the need to tackle mental ill health as well as the stigma that is associated with it. By having good prevention, diagnosis and treatment, we can make a real difference to the picture of mental health in Leeds.”

Report author Sarah Erskine said:

“This needs assessment clearly shows us inequalities and unmet mental health needs in our city. It also indicates gaps in data and where we need to do more to ensure we develop services truly based on need. The report is part of ongoing analysis and in the future we plan to do analysis which will highlight mental health needs of marginalised or disadvantaged groups.”

More information about the assessment can be found here: http://observatory.leeds.gov.uk/

Top level summary of risk factors as experienced in Leeds Numbers of people
Debt and financial strain 100,000
Unemployment 40,000
Adverse experiences such as trauma and abuse 45,000
Caring responsibilities 70,000
Long term health conditions 200,000
Social Isolation 40,000

 

More information about support available is here: http://www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/Pages/mental-health-and-wellbeing.aspx