Mental health overview

The mental health and wellbeing section brings together information on mental health and wellbeing, including the determinants of mental health, personal wellbeing, the prevalence of common mental health conditions and serious mental illness, social isolation and loneliness, and suicide and self-harm. 

Impact of mental wellbeing and mental disorder

Good mental wellbeing is associated with a range of positive health outcomes such as lower incidence of mental illness, reduced physical illness and premature mortality, fewer health-compromising behaviours, as well as desirable non-health related outcomes such as improved educational achievement and social participation. 

This is important as mental ill health is the largest single cause of disability in the UK, contributing to almost 23% of the overall burden of disease, compared to about 16% each for cancer and cardiovascular disease. Almost half of mental health issues arise by the age of 14 and mental disorders in childhood and adolescence have a wide range of impacts and inequalities - in both childhood and adulthood.¹

A number of factors can increase the risk of mental ill health, whilst others  can promote good mental health and protect against mental disorder - the main ones are outlined below. 

Factors linked to a person's mental health

  1. Wellbeing is one of the the strongest protective factors to good physical and mental health. It fundamentally affects behaviour, social cohesion, social inclusion and prosperity. Self-reported wellbeing among Lancashire-12 residents is similar to England, although there are district variations. 

  2. Deprivation and inequality are particularly important risk factors: both individual and neighbourhood deprivation can increase the risk of poor general and mental health.² Evidence shows that people from the most deprived areas are at higher risk of poor mental health and developing mental health problems, as are their children. They are twice as likely to consult their GP for help with mental health issues, and they are also more likely to die from suicide, especially when they are young. 

  3. Low quality housing is an aspect of deprivation associated with poor mental health. An indication of the quality of housing in the county can be deduced by its value and its condition. The household section of Lancashire Insight can provide more information on this area.

  4. Unemployment is associated with social exclusion, which has a number of adverse effects, including reduced psychological wellbeing and a greater incidence of self-harm, depression and anxiety. Conversely, employment can have beneficial effects on an individual's mental health.

  5. Crime, and fear of crime, is also associated with poorer mental health. There is a significant inequality in crime, with those in the most deprived areas in Lancashire-12 many times more likely to be a victim of crime than those in the least deprived areas. 

  6. Poor educational attainment is also associated with many negative health outcomes, as noted above, including lower wellbeing. Although educational attainment across Lancashire-12 is similar to England, there is a strong social gradient across the districts in the county in the percentage of pupils achieving five A*-C grade GCSEs (including English and maths). 

  7. Mental health problems are common among people who have alcohol and substance misuse issues. The Local Alcohol Profiles for England (from Public Health England) show the rate of hospital admissions and episodes for alcohol-specific conditions are significantly worse for Lancashire-12 when compared to England. This is also the same for alcohol-related mental and behavioural disorders due to use of alcohol condition (narrow), for all ages.

Further information can be obtained from the Public Health England mental health profiles, which are available at a district and county level. 

References

¹ Kessler RC, Chiu WT, Demler O, Merikangas KR, Walters EE. Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of 12-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;62(6):617-27.

² Stafford M, Marmot M; Neighbourhood deprivation and health: does it affect us all equally? Int J Epidemiol. 2003 Jun;32(3):357-66

Page updated October 2015