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Mental Health (Adults)

Introduction

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.

 

At least one in four people (approximately 40,000 people in Bedford Borough) will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life and around half of people with lifetime mental health problems experience their first symptoms by the age of 14. By promoting good mental health and intervening early we can help prevent mental illness from developing and reduce its effects when it does.

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 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’ (DoH, 2011) 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

 

Facts, Figures, Trends

Mental illness in adults can be classified through common mental disorders (anxiety, depression, obsessional compulsive disorder), personality disorders, psychoses, eating disorders (including anorexia nervosa and bulimia) or disorders related to substance misuse (alcohol and drugs).

 

The number of the population in Bedford Borough who are affected by mental health disorders are described in Table 1 with future projections to 2016. People aged 18-64 predicted to have a common mental health disorder is estimated to increase from

15,828 in 2012 to 16,369 in 2016 and increase of 541 adults. These increases have been projected based on change in population only.

 

Table 1: Five year projections of common mental disorders, personality disorder, psychotic disorders and two or more psychiatric disorders (all persons)

 

Mental health – All people (18-64)

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

People aged 18-84 predicted to have a common mental disorder

15,828

15,913

16,086

16,222

16,369

People aged 18-64 predicted to have a borderline personality disorder

443

446

450

454

458

People aged 18-64 predicted to have an antisocial personality disorder

340

341

345

347

352

People aged 18-64 predicted to have a psychotic disorder

393

396

400

403

407

People aged 18-64 predicted to have two or more psychiatric disorders

7060

7097

7175

7234

7304

 
 

People with mental health disorder have poorer physical health and often are subject to discrimination and stigma. Males with mental illness die on average 16 years earlier and women with mental illnesses die 12 years earlier than those without mental illness.

 

Impacts of Mental disorder during adulthood:

  • Higher unemployment
  • Higher rate of debt problems
  • Higher risk of homelessness
  •  Higher smoking prevalence
  • Increased risk of physical health problems especially heart disease and cancer
  • Reduced life expectancy of 16 years for men and 12 years for women
 
 

National & Local Strategies

The Annual Director of Public Health (DPH) 2014 report focused on Mental Health and Wellbeing, the recommendations highlighted for Adults in Bedford Borough are:

1. Improve the physical health of those with mental health illness by ensuring good access to healthy lifestyle support

 

2. Support employers to participate in Workplace Health initiatives and to signpost to relevant resources

 

3. Increase understanding of mental health and wellbeing and reduce stigma of mental ill health

 

The recommendations made here have been highlighted because they will reduce inequalities, have the potential for widespread impact and are achievable. The current inequality in physical health and resultant premature mortality needs to be addressed urgently and there are services in place that we could use more effectively. Promoting mental health and wellbeing in the workplace would impact on a large number of people and could prevent illness which would decrease sickness absence. Stigma has negative impacts on the person in terms of mental wellbeing and reduces the likelihood that people will seek help early.

 

To download a copy of the Director of Public Health Annual Report on Mental Health and Wellbeing please click here

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