CIEH signs up to national initiative to improve mental health

The CIEH recently signed up to lead the environmental health profession to help fulfil the Government’s agenda to improve mental health.  

mental health 

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According to the leading mental health charity Mind, 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. This is a significant issue and on behalf of the Government’s agenda to improve people’s wellbeing, Public Health England (PHE) developed the ‘Public mental health leadership and workforce development framework’.

Through the framework, PHE wants to build people’s capability and skills so that they can promote good mental health across the population. PHE’s aim is that this approach will help to prevent mental illness and suicide, as well as improve the quality of life for people living with mental illness.

The CIEH has fully signed up to the framework and is one of the endorsing partners, which means the CIEH will be looking to build the skills and capability of its members and the wider environmental health workforce.

Environmental health professionals don’t specifically work on mental health initiatives but their activities to improve health and wellbeing within our homes, workplaces, businesses and communities helps to address the stresses that can lead to mental health issues.

There is evidence that poor housing conditions can affect people’s mental wellbeing and through monitoring housing standards and enforcing landlords to make repairs where necessary, EHPs can help improve mental health.

Healthy and Safety in the workplace is not just about ensuring offices and factories are free from trip hazards or have safe working practices. Stress and lone working are just two factors that can affect people’s mental wellbeing and EHPs have a responsibility to work with employers to implement healthy working practices.

Regional Stakeholder Manager for the CIEH, Sharon Smith, said that mental health is an important issue for the CIEH and is also one of the key themes of the Presidential programme being led by current President, Tim Everett.

“Our members and the wider profession have an important role in raising the awareness of mental health and wellbeing, helping to reduce the stigma associated with mental health and ensuring that mental health is considered as a core element in all their activities,” said Sharon Smith.

“We are pleased to endorse Public Health England’s mental health framework and will work with all our partners to incorporate the framework’s priorities and competencies into our future strategies and leadership programmes.

“This in-turn will help to build an environmental health workforce across all employment sectors that is confident, competent and committed to improving the public’s mental health and wellbeing.”

Going forward, the CIEH will be looking to integrate mental health more into its day-to-day activities. There is a pilot support initiative in Devon known as the ‘Supporting Mind’ campaign, a Mental Health First Aid training workshop and the CIEH will be developing collaborative projects with PHE and Mind.

For further information on the CIEH’s mental health work programmes and its commitment to PHE’s mental health initiative, email Sharon Smith.

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