The Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health Programme

30 August 2017

On 30 August 2017, Public Health England (PHE) released the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health, a national agreement that aimed to mobilise system-wide implementation of a preventative approach to mental health problems and promotion of good mental health.

Development

PHE had prepared the Concordat in response to NHS England's Five Year Forward View for Mental Health (from February 2016), which set out recommendations for transforming mental health and mental health services in England.

The Concordat was developed with the input of a group of national expert organisations, including the Association of Directors of Public Health, the Local Government Association, and the Mental Health Foundation.

How the Concordat worked

The Concordat was designed so that all stakeholders (such as local authorities, NHS organisations, voluntary sector organisations, employers and educational organisations) could sign up to it. In doing so, signatories agreed to a statement of seven commitments, including to:

  • promote a prevention-focused approach towards improving the public’s mental health
  • work collaboratively across sectors
  • support other organisations to adopt the Concordat.

The Concordat was accompanied by a collection of resources aimed at supporting health and wellbeing boards, local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and their partners to implement preventative and promotional approaches to mental health through effective local strategic planning. These included planning resources, a report and guidance on the cost-effectiveness of approaches, and information to support Joint Strategic Needs Assessments for mental health.

When the Concordat was launched it had 30 signatories, including Age UK, NHS Improvement, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. The agreement was opened to signatures from further organisations, whose commitments were to be announced in regular updates from PHE.

On 9 March 2018, PHE announced the first round of local authority signatories, which were published on the Concordat’s webpage.

Response

The Concordat and accompanied resources were well-received by key public health organisations, many of whom were involved in co-creating the programme (including the Association of Directors of Public Health). Paul Burstow, Professor of Mental Health Policy at Birmingham University and former Minister of State for Care Services, cautioned in the Guardian newspaper in July 2018 that the preventative strategy needed funding for its potential to be realised. 

Source(s)

Mental Health Taskforce.
The five year forward view for mental health.
NHS England; 2018.

Public Health England.
Prevention concordat for better mental health [webpage].
UK government; 2017.

Association of Directors of Public Health.
ADPH statement on the publication of the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health.
Association of Directors of Public Health; 2017.

Burstow P.
Young people’s mental health: we can build a resilient generation.
The Guardian; 23 July 2018.