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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

RCPsych response to public health white paper

Embargoed until 30 November 2010

Professor Dinesh Bhugra, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:

"We warmly welcome the government’s new public health white paper for acknowledging – at long last – that mental health is central to public health. In particular, we welcome the recognition of the need to intervene early to protect children’s health and wellbeing. In the past, public health strategies have concentrated on physical health, and overlooked the importance of both mental illness and mental well-being.

"Last month, the Royal College of Psychiatrists published No health without public mental health, a compendium of evidence showing why mental health must be at the heart of any public health agenda. Evidence shows that mental ill-health is associated with a greater risk of physical illness, while physical ill-health in turn increases the risk of mental illness. Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, people from the poorest households are at much greater risk of mental-ill health, and mental illness is closely linked to the major public health issues such as smoking, obesity and alcohol abuse.

"We know that promoting mental health and well-being in the population can bring significant health, social and economic benefits across all sectors of society. The challenge now is to ensure that the Coalition Government’s prioritisation of public health translates into action to tackle mental health at a national and local level. With responsibility for public health delivery set to be transferred to local authorities, it is important that directors of public health understand that mental health is central to public health debates."

For further information, please contact:
Sarah Nevins
Press & Social Media Officer
Telephone: 020 3701 2543
Claire McLoughlin
Media & Communications Manager 
Telephone: 020 3701 2544
Out of hours contact number: 07860 755896



The Healthy lives, healthy peple White Paper was published on 30 November 2010:


Note to editors:

The White Paper sets out the Government’s long-term vision for the future of public health in England. The aim is to create a ‘wellness’ service (Public Health England) and to strengthen both national and local leadership


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