Annual Public Health report 2017 focuses on mental health

05/12/2017, PR8710

​Senior councillors are to discuss Wakefield's Annual Public Health report – which this year focuses on mental health and wellbeing.

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​Recent research has shown that two-thirds of adults have experienced mental ill health at some point in their lives. Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health problems. In a year, 25 percent of people will experience symptoms of mental illness and 30 percent will suffer from stress.

Members of Wakefield's Cabinet will discuss the report and how they can respond to its recommendations when they meet on 12 December. They will also discuss the progress that has been made since a previous Annual Public Health report, which focused on supporting families to give babies and young children the best start in the first 1,000 days of life.

Cllr Pat Garbutt

​Cllr Pat Garbutt, Cabinet Member for Adults and Health at Wakefield Council, said: "Mental health is just as important as physical health and it is essential that the stigma attached to this type of ill health is reduced and people get the help and support they need to move forward in their lives."

The risk factors for poor mental health can start before birth, due to substance abuse during pregnancy. Other factors such as exposure to crime and family violence, job insecurity or social isolation can also increase the risks of becoming unwell.

Factors that help to achieve good mental wellbeing include having a good job, a positive learning environment at home and school, support from family and friends, taking regular exercise, not smoking and drinking within recommended guidelines.

In the Wakefield district a number of initiatives are underway to support people's wellbeing - including a network of 'community anchor' organisations which provide places where local people can access social and economic opportunities and to ensure that their voices are heard.

Other local schemes include programmes to protect green spaces, deliver work opportunities and work with schools. Employers are also being encouraged to sign up to the Wakefield Workplace Health and Wellbeing Charter which promotes positive wellbeing at work.

Councillors will also hear about the progress that's been made on improving children's lives in the district in the first 1,000 days of life, which research has shown results in lifelong benefits.

A report says that teenage pregnancies have continued to fall since 2013 to 2015. Smoking in pregnancy is reducing, however it's still twice the national average. More mums are breastfeeding their babies but the rates are below the national level.

Councillors will be asked to note both of the reports. 


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