Council investing £370,000 to improve mental health and wellbeing in Sandwell
Published 8th October 2021
Sandwell Council has been awarded £370,000 from Public Health England’s Prevention & Promotion Fund for Better Mental Health to invest in improving mental health and wellbeing among residents.
The fund supports the implementation of the Department of Health and Social Care’s COVID-19 Mental Health and Wellbeing Recovery Action Plan for 2021 and 2022.
COVID-19 has been recognised as a public mental health emergency that makes worse existing mental health inequalities. The fund aims to reduce and respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health, encouraging investment in prevention and promotion activities for better mental health in deprived communities.
Many Sandwell residents have been among that hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and, by targeting those most at risk, this funding will help to reduce mental health issues and widening mental health inequalities.
Voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations have supported some of our most disadvantaged residents during the COVID-19 response and play a vital role alongside health and care services in providing wider support to those experiencing or at risk of mental health problems.
Grants are being awarded to a range of these organisations so that they can provide targeted support for children and young people, men and ethnic minority communities through community outreach and peer support, and to provide education and training on mental health awareness and suicide prevention. Local organisations will also be able to apply for small grants of up to £5,000.
Grant-funded projects include pre-and post-natal support groups; a parenting programme (via Changes Antenatal); an anti-bullying campaign (via the SHAPE Programme); the Children and Young People/VCS Charter Mark initiative; and VCS mental health community training and champions.
The funding will also focus on engaging men through outreach peer support for self-harm and suicide prevention, and football activities with peer support; and engaging minority ethnic communities through targeted peer support and activities.
It is anticipated that all the projects funded by Prevention & Promotion Fund for Better Mental Health monies will start by the end of this month and run until June 2022.
Lisa McNally, Sandwell’s director of public health, said: “The impact of COVID-19 and the social and economic consequences of the pandemic mean that tackling mental health has never been more important.
“Mental health prevention, promotion and early intervention – such as the activities supported by the Prevention & Promotion Fund for Better Mental Health – can reduce pressures on NHS services, social care, education, criminal justice and employers, resulting in economic benefits.
“Mental wellbeing is fundamental to achieving a healthy, resilient and thriving community. The Prevention & Promotion Fund for Better Mental Health will enable us to boost educational attainment, employment, community cohesion and quality of life in Sandwell. And this announcement is timely, coming as it does as we prepare to support World Mental Health Day on 10 October.”
If you are feeling worried, anxious or lonely or know someone who is struggling, you do not have to struggle with difficult feelings alone. Please contact the free 24/7 Black Country Mental Health Helpline – 0800 008 6516.
If you would like more information on the mental health support across Sandwell or more information on the Better Mental Health projects please visit the Healthy Sandwell website.