A new, free online learning resource for professionals and the public to use to promote self-care and mental health prevention has been launched.
Mental Health 4 Life, delivered by East London NHS Foundation Trust and Careif, and supported by NHS England, is one of the first online resources of its kind to take a life-course approach. Evidence-based, it is targeted at all sectors, groups and individuals, from schools, the voluntary sector and councils to emergency and health services and employers.
Divided into 10 modules, with infographics, specially commissioned films and case studies, the resource allows those who sign up to self-test and dip in and out to suit their needs and lifestyles. Users can select an area of interest, for example the arts, a target group, such as older people, or their sector, including local government, emergency services and schools. The plan is to create a Mental Health 4 Life community, which can be connected on and offline to promote better mental health nationally.
Dr Geraldine Strathdee, NHS England’s national clinical director for mental health, said: “For those of us who work in mental health services, we repeatedly hear stories from our patients of the many missed opportunities for mental health prevention. This is why Mental Health 4 Life is a necessary resource. It contains accessible facts and figures on public mental health and is written for a wide range of audiences. It should be a valuable resource for all frontline community and public service leaders. Mental Health 4 Life will open the doors to many who wouldn’t think about how preventable mental ill health is.”
Kamaldeep Bhui, professor of cultural psychiatry and epidemiology at Queen Mary University of London and co-founder of Careif, said: “Mental Health 4 Life provides every member of the public with an opportunity to promote their own mental health and that of their family, peers and community. As it is a free resource, and is online, it’s accessible to all.
“Mental health is everybody's business, and preventing mental illness is also everyone's business. In this context the resource will also help to combat stigma and will show every person that they can be powerful agents to create better mental health in their communities, families and for themselves.”
Angela Snowling, assistant director for public health at Slough Borough Council, which plans to roll out Mental Health 4 Life in 2016, added: “Slough Borough Council has decided to implement the Mental Health 4 Life resource because it makes recommendations for improving mental health across the life course, in line with our Joint Strategic Needs Assessment. The resource can be used by our own organisation, by the community, schools and in workplaces. It reflects the parity of esteem that mental health now has with physical health. The costs avoided by intervening early are clearly explained in each resource, and the themes are now embedded in our new CAMHS [child and adolescent mental health service] strategy. It also supports the work of many agencies who work with schools and allows them to evidence their work under the new THRIVE model of CAMHS.”
Lambeth Early Action Partnership, Network Rail, British Transport Police, Citizens UK, Healthwatch Ealing, Warwick University Medical School, the London Borough of Lambeth and Slough Borough Council are just some of the organisations to feature in the resource.
Mental Health 4 Life’s impact will be measured through analytics from user data.