The Government’s strategy, No Health without Mental Health defines wellbeing as ‘a positive state of mind and body, feeling safe and able to cope, with a sense of connection with people, communities and the wider environment.’
National data indicates that
- Some groups report higher levels of self-reported wellbeing. These include people who are employed, live with a partner/spouse, are in good health, or are aged under 35 or over 55 years.
- One in four people experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives. Mental illness still carries considerable stigma. The cost of mental ill health to the economy in England for adults has been estimated at £105 billion.
- One in 10 children aged between five and 16 has a mental health problem. This is equivalent to 3,200 children and young people in Brighton & Hove. Where young people experience significant mental health needs they may miss time in education and risk poorer educational outcomes.
Risk factors for poorer mental health include
- Poor mental health is associated with poor self-management of long term conditions and behaviour that may endanger physical health such as drug and alcohol abuse.
- Some groups within the population have a higher risk of developing mental ill-health: homeless people, offenders, certain BME groups, LGB and transgender people, veterans, looked after children, gypsies and travellers, vulnerable migrants, victims of violence, people approaching the end of life, bereaved people, people with alcohol or substance misuse issues, or complex needs, and people with learning disabilities have all been identified as at higher risk.
- Evidence suggests that Brighton and Hove has relatively high proportions of some of these groups including homeless and LGB and transgender people. Eight in ten respondents of the 2006 Count Me in Too survey of the LGBT population reported experiencing mental health difficulties in the previous five years.
The first local data from the Office for National Statistics national subjective wellbeing survey were published in July 2012. Brighton & Hove residents reported slightly higher average levels of happiness than the national average.
However despite higher levels of self-reported wellbeing across the city, local prevalence of mental illness continues to be generally higher than the average for England for both common mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression and severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
The Joint Strategic Needs Assessment indicates that self-harm is a significant local problem: the number of presentations to A&E by children and young people has increased and there were more than 1,700 A&E attendances in adults in 2011/12.