2017 Vital Signs report warns that the West of England must raise more funding to prevent mental health problems

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Urgent action is needed to prevent local people in the West of England suffering mental health crises.  This is the key conclusion of the 2017 Vital Signs report from Quartet Community Foundation.

The annual study from the area’s only community foundation gathered data about mental health issues across Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire and gives recommendations for making charitable donations more effective in supporting local groups working to prevent mental health issues arising.

Read your copy below:

Key findings:

·         The kids aren’t alright

1 in 3 adult mental health issues directly relate to difficulty in childhood and the symptoms of 50% of lifelong mental health issues begin by the age of 14. As many as 1 in 4 girls aged 14 report symptoms of depression.

·         High rates of young people self-harming

Local hospitals see a higher than average number of young people aged 10-24 years who have self-harmed. This indicates that more early support is needed for our young people before they reach crisis point.

·         Living on the breadline

In 15 local wards 30% or more of our children and young people are living in poverty, putting them at higher risk of developing mental health problems.

·         Debt time-bomb

Many Bristolians are struggling with debt which is linked to depression, drink and drug use and suicide.  In Bristol 17% of people are estimated to be overindebted.

·         Hard lives

Research shows your risk of mental health problems is much higher if you are facing a combination of problems like disability, housing problems and poverty.

·         Local communities with inadequate support

People from black, Asian, minority ethnic and gypsy/traveller groups can find it particularly difficult to get help for their mental health problems, even though some groups are more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health problem and be admitted to hospital.

Sue Turner, Chief Executive of Quartet Community Foundation, said: “This report shows that mental health problems are often layered on top of other issues, so it’s the most vulnerable people in the West of England who are likely to struggle. But we have a message of hope too because we know there are ways all of us can help.

“We are calling for people, businesses and trusts that care about the local community to step up their philanthropy and offer support for organisations that provide early intervention and preventative programmes that can reduce risk factors and prevent mental health from deteriorating.”

36% of Quartet’s funding last year through our grants programmes was directed at strengthening local communities and promoting healthy living in the West of England.  Quartet Community Foundation made £900,000 in grants to small, local groups enhancing health and wellbeing in the local area, strengthening communities and supporting those most vulnerable to the effects of ill health.

Vital Signs details 10 “Vital Steps” that people can take to make a difference – ways to donate money to local good causes that enhance health and wellbeing, strengthen communities and support those most vulnerable to the effects of mental ill health.