As Director of Public Health, my role is to help improve the health and wellbeing of people across the area. Every two years, I report publicly and independently on what I see as the main health issues and make recommendations for addressing them. In doing so, I look to advocate for policies and actions which I think can improve health, tackle inequalities and encourage debate about health issues.
For my 2011-13 report, I’ve chosen to focus on mental health because it is key to improving health and well-being.
In a short video I give an overview of the report and explain why mental health is the overarching theme. This video is in the WMV format, please visit our website's Helpdesk of you are having difficulty opening this file type.
In an area with the health challenges of Greater Glasgow and Clyde, many of which have their roots in poor mental health, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the difficulty of making changes. However, I have been encouraged both by the actions of communities and individuals who have taken control of their own health as well as colleagues who have made use of the best evidence of what works.
The main things which are good for mental health can be summed up by activity. They are about:
The key message of the report is simple: if we work together we can do better. In that light, I decided to ask some influential local people for their vision of a mentally healthy Greater Glasgow and Clyde. You will find some of their comments below and throughout the sections of the report.
We all need to be aware of the things that can have adverse effects on mental health. The current difficult economic climate is likely to impact disproportionately on the mental health of the population compared to other causes of poor health. Previous recessions indicate that it is the most vulnerable who suffer the most and who bear the longest lasting effects. We will need a strong resolve to ensure this does not happen over the next 5 years. I urge all public agencies and community planning partners to reflect carefully about the impact on mental health when they make decisions about services and priorities in a time of reducing public sector budgets.
I hope this report provides useful information and generates discussion on how to take forward the aspirations for a mentally healthy Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
Dr Linda de Caestecker
Director of Public Health