University of Manchester's new publication offers insight on causes and challenges of poor mental health

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The University of Manchester has marked World Mental Health Day today (10 October) with the launch of a new publication offering insight on the causes and challenges of poor mental health, together with a suite of recommendations to help policymakers improve the lives of millions.

University of Manchester
Professor Cecilia Wong, Academic Co-Director of Policy@Manchester

Open Minds, produced by Policy@Manchester, is a collection of 10 evidence-based articles from the University’s academics examining everything from the factors affecting the wellbeing of young people, to the challenges in providing mental health care to the most vulnerable, and the breakthrough treatments and therapies to help alleviate the national and global burden of mental ill-health.

The online document begins with a foreword by Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, who argues that “as a country, we are looking through the wrong end of the telescope” on the issue of dealing with mental health.

He writes: “The evidence base for preventing mental health problems is steadily growing. There are a good number of interventions like workplace support initiatives, anti-bullying programmes, and better perinatal mental health support, where the evidence is very clear.

“Governments and health systems should urgently invest in these solutions. And we know that the toxic impacts of poverty and discrimination are two of the most important drivers of mental ill-health; any cross-government plan must ensure that these are priorities.”

Mr Rowland stresses the need to “keep pushing the evidence further, harness new technologies and re-engineer our health systems to prioritise tackling the rising number of mental health problems in our society.  We need new tools and new thinking.  And we need to leave no inequality unaddressed in both the prevention and treatment of mental health problems.”

He continues: “That’s why the work of Policy@Manchester is so vital. There are some brilliant ideas in this report.”

We need to follow the evidence, rigorously interrogating ideas and adopting them where they can be shown to be useful.  In keeping with the title of this collection: let’s keep open minds.”

Mark Rowland, Chief Executive, Mental Health Foundation

Professor Cecilia Wong, Academic Co-Director of Policy@Manchester, said:

“This is an excellent and timely publication.

“Poor mental health has a terribly debilitating impact on our society.  Practical policy solutions are urgently required.

“Open Minds combines leading research expertise on mental health and wellbeing with evidence-led policy analysis from across The University of Manchester. 

“I hope it will be read widely and its recommendations taken onboard by those with the power to tackle the mental health crisis.”   

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