Council says mental health is a priority

Coun Keith Cunliffe
Coun Keith Cunliffe

WIGAN Council has defended its mental health provision after a leading charity blasted town halls across the region for spending too little of their public health budgets preventing mental health problems.

Research carried out by mental health charity Mind found 13 authorities in the North West spent just 2.2 per cent of their public health budget, around £6m, on mental health,

This was dwarfed by the huge sums spent on public health campaigns tackling physical problems such as obesity, smoking and sexual health as well as work to increase exercise and promote active lifestyles.

However, Wigan Council said mental health problems in the borough are tackled using money from several different funding pots, not just from the public health budget, and is taken extremely seriously at the town hall.

Wigan Council portfolio holder for adult health and social care Keith Cunliffe said: “Mental health is one of the priorities of Wigan’s health and well-being board and will be dealt with in our deal for adult social care.

“It is more than just a public health issue, though, and it is difficult to put a figure on the work being done to promote mental health within the borough.

“Our work starts with building resilience and confidence in our children and young people through to tackling social isolation and loneliness for older people.

“Work and meaningful activity also play an important role, and connecting people with their communities can be an effective way of helping people to maintain good mental health.

“While there is always more that can be done, the council is seeking to address the wider determinants of mental ill-health.”

The charity is now calling on the Government to introduce a national strategy ensuring councils devote adequate funds to mental health problems and said town halls need to receive more guidance and support.