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  • Writer's pictureDan Heley

Have your say on council's mental health strategy

North Somerset Council has started a public consultation on its first ever five-year mental health and wellbeing strategy, as it continues work to tackle health inequalities and make the area a healthier place to live, work and flourish. 


The draft North Somerset Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy for 2024 to 2029 highlights the importance of prevention and early intervention in mental health and an increasing need for support, especially for young people. 


Data from GP practices suggests the prevalence of depression in adults is increasing locally. It currently stands at 15 per cent, which equates to approximately 24,000 adults in North Somerset, compared to 10 per cent in 2016.  


Mental health needs are also rising among children and young people. Locally, 3.6 per cent of secondary school pupils have a documented social, emotional and mental health need, and referral rates to mental health services have increased in recent years. 

The draft strategy includes an action plan setting out how the council will work with partners to address people’s mental health and tackle health inequalities. It aims to make sure mental health is given equal importance to physical health. The strategy focuses on three key themes: 

  • Prevention: preventing mental ill-health before it arises and preventing any worsening of mental health problems as early as possible 

  • Early intervention: identifying mental ill-health as early as possible and intervening early with the right support. 

  • Supported and living well: supporting individuals in a holistic way so that people with mental ill-health can live well in North Somerset. 


A consultation on the draft strategy opened today (Thursday 15 February) and closes in six weeks’ time on Thursday 28 March. The strategy and survey are available at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/mhstrategy


Improving the mental health of people in North Somerset is a key priority for the council, as North Somerset Council’s executive member for public health Cllr Jenna Ho Marris explains: 


“The challenges of recent years, including the impact of the pandemic and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, have impacted on the mental health and wellbeing of our communities. Positive mental health is just as important as physical health, and the two are connected.” 


“We know social inequalities are associated with increased risk of many common mental health conditions. Decent homes, decent jobs, the care and community someone has around them, or lack of those things, have a huge impact on mental health.  We must do everything we can to make good physical and mental health available to everyone, but especially to our youngest and our most vulnerable residents, and those who can access it the least."   


“This strategy sets out our vision and ambitions for improving mental health and how we’ll make a difference for people throughout their lives. Please tell us how we can put good mental health and wellbeing at the heart of everything that our council does. We can’t do this alone, we’ll work with partners, and you, our residents. We need your ideas.” 


The strategy has been developed in collaboration with a range of partners. It builds on insight from the council, health, care, voluntary and community sectors, people who have experience of mental ill-health, findings from regional and national studies, and the council’s own Adult and Children’s and Young People’s mental health needs assessments. 


The views gathered during the consultation will be used to develop a final draft of the strategy which is expected to be finalised and endorsed by councillors this summer.  


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