CIEH stresses connection between mental health and environmental health in light of new report

16 November 2023, Ciaran Donaghy

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) today responded to the "Wellbeing in Northern Ireland 2022/23" report, emphasising the integral link between mental health, wellbeing, and environmental health.

Aligning with CIEH's vision of safer, cleaner, healthier environments for all, this strategic focus is a key response to the report’s findings on the correlation between self-reported good health and higher levels of wellbeing.

The report illustrates how environmental factors significantly impact mental health. Notably, individuals who reported their health as ‘very good’ showed significantly higher levels of wellbeing compared to those reporting their health as ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’. In light of these findings, CIEH is advocating for comprehensive research into the environmental determinants of health. This approach is aimed at informing targeted interventions that can effectively improve both environmental and mental wellbeing.

Furthermore, CIEH is championing the development of policies that address broader environmental health determinants. These include improving housing quality, enhancing access to green spaces, and implementing effective pollution control measures. Such initiatives are essential for creating environments that are not only physically safe but also promote mental wellbeing.

These efforts are part of CIEH’s strategic priority to strengthen the connection between mental health and environmental health, a vital component for ensuring overall wellbeing. CIEH is committed to this approach, believing it will significantly improve the health of individuals and communities alike.

Louise Hosking, Executive Director of Environmental Health at CIEH, said:

"We are steadfast in our mission to create safer, cleaner, and healthier environments for all, a vision that is more crucial now than ever in light of the findings from this latest report.

These findings underscore the necessity of transcending the 'health vs wealth' dichotomy, and instead are keen to promote the benefits strong public health protections have on, not only physical and mental health, but on economic productivity. In other words, a healthy population is not just a moral imperative but a cornerstone of a thriving economy.

We, as environmental health professionals, are at the forefront of addressing these challenges and it's vital that we connect the dots across the various aspects of Environmental Health to improve overall health and wellbeing. Our member-led Advisory Panels, especially the new Public Health Advisory Panel, are instrumental in this journey. We're actively seeking members to join us in this critical endeavour, to shape policies and initiatives that support not just a healthier, but also a more economically robust society."

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