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Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health problems for adults of working age. In a recent report by Glasgow Centre for Population Health, NHSGGC consistently performed worse than Scotland as a whole. This was particularly notable for depression, anxiety and the drug and alcohol-related indicators.

Why adult mental health is important

  • Experiencing a long-term mental health problem can reduce people’s quality of life
  • People with enduring mental health problems have high levels of physical illness
  • One third of all absences from work are due to stress related illness, which can also lead to poor work performance, motivation and relationships at work

My recommendations

  • We must continue to develop multi-agency suicide prevention programmes in community settings combined with extension and consolidation of suicide prevention approaches within statutory sector agencies, including maintaining a high level of front line staff with suicide prevention skills; place particular focus on the connections between addictions and mental health problems. 
  • Staff health strategies for the public sector should prioritise mental health and all managers should make sure that they understand their role in promoting mental health of their staff. 
  • As recommended by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, there needs to be full recognition of the parenting role of people with mental health problems and they must be supported in this role.
  • We endorse the report of the independent enquiry into drug misuse and recommend that the NHS and local authorities consider the pilots of the Circle of Care approach and look at how this approach can be expanded and sustained.
  • The newly formed primary care Deprivation Interest Group should link to NHSGGC planning structures to develop a work plan on mental health and addictions that includes the benefits of physical activity.
  • We must do everything possible to improve throughcare services for men and women leaving prison including intensive support and addiction services and ensuring a gendered sensitive approach.
  • We must ensure that people experiencing mental ill health are given a holistic assessment to gain a better understanding of their past health and current needs. This should include a comprehensive summary on interventions, social and family context, alcohol and drug misuse and physical problems.
  • In relation to alcohol, we must have a stronger focus on the public health objective of licensing legislation, facilitate effective overprovision policies and continue to advocate for minimum pricing of alcohol.

Our vision for a mentally healthy Glasgow and Clyde

Stephen House, Chief Constable, Strathclyde Police

"As Chief Constable of Strathclyde, an area which includes communities with the highest levels of alcohol related harm in Western Europe, my vision for a mentally healthy Greater Glasgow and Clyde would be one in which the relationship with alcohol had been transformed and a healthier culture of drinking brought about.  I would like a much smaller proportion of my officers’ time to be taken up in dealing with drunken people.  In the transformed culture, individual leisure and public safety would be enhanced by a culture of sensible recreational alcohol use.  A necessary part of the changed culture would be a media in which the issue of alcohol use was treated responsibly, in which drunkenness was no longer glamorised, and in which young people were not bombarded with advertising and sponsorship images encouraging them to drink.   The vibrancy and economic prosperity of our town or city centres should be promoted and spared the consequences of grossly excessive drinking.  There are concrete grounds for optimism in this regard.  Ten years ago, few would have predicted smoke free public places in Scotland and yet we led the way in achieving this.  We need similarly bold actions for a healthy alcohol culture."

Georgina Brown, Glasgow GP with lead role for Deprivation

"We need recognition that health inequality is a universal societal problem and the health sector should promote a social morality.  We must recognise that our assumptions about patients are often too simplistic.  We need to recognise that they don't just wake up in the morning and decide to take drugs, lose their friends/ families, drink themselves to cirrhosis, become homeless, attempt suicide and claim benefit and spend their Saturday nights in filthy squats 'shooting up'. These are not informed choices but a direction of travel based on lack of opportunities, poverty, society and health issues. More tolerance is needed instead of judgement.  We should be looking for methods of early intervention and questioning current modes of management.  Does picking up a methadone script every month and seeing a counsellor for 10 minutes and doing this for 5 years really represent the optimal way of assisting people in moving out of a desperate circle? At best, this could be said to maintain them stable in the circle indefinitely."

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