2015 Election Research Notes

Why these manifesto actions are required

(Source publications and references at bottom of page)

 

As many people in the world die from suicide as from homicide and warfare combined.1 Mental illness is the biggest health problem in rich countries2, it causes more suffering in our society than physical illness does, or poverty or unemployment do. It reduces life expectancy as much as smoking does. It accounts for nearly half of all the disabled people on disability benefits, and nearly half of all days off sick. It affects educational achievement and income as much as pure IQ does.3

 

In England, approximately 10 per cent of children and young people have a diagnosed mental health problem at any one time. They are less likely to do well at school and the negative outcomes continue into adulthood.4 While people are still children, we should inoculate them with the capacity to resist mental illness throughout their lives.5

 

Mental illness imposes huge costs on the rest of society. Solving this problem is not just humanitarian – it is also a matter of plain economics.6  A follow-up study of children aged ten in inner London shows that by the time he was twenty-eight, a child who had conduct disorder at the age of ten had cost the government £100,000 more than a child without it.7

 

There is strong evidence linking mindfulness with a range of benefits including better concentration, greater calmness and reduced emotional reactivity, reduced stress and improved immune functioning, and better overall wellbeing and life satisfaction. Studies suggest that mindfulness can improve both children’s mental health and wellbeing and their ability to pay attention, problem-solve, and learn. 8

 

Mindfulness also benefits children with special needs: studies found that mindfulness training helped adolescents to control their attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), reduce aggressive behaviour in boys, reduced anxiety and improved academic performance among children with learning disabilities. Mindfulness can also improve teachers’ sense of wellbeing and self-efficacy, as well as their ability to manage classroom behaviour and establish and maintain supportive relationships with students.8

 

Currently only £0.75 billion goes on child mental health. By contrast some £30 billion is spent on the physical care of the 500,000 people who will subsequently die within a year.9 We spend more on people who have a year left to live than on children who have their whole lives ahead of them and whom will make up our future society. There needs to be an integration of mental and physical health with the aim of providing ‘whole person care’, and to shift the focus of healthcare spending towards prevention.10

There is a growing body of empirical research evidence suggesting that more could be done to protect and promote the wellbeing and mental health of children and young people within schools.11

The national curriculum should include the requirement to teach children and young people how to look after their mental health and build emotional resilience through approaches such as mindfulness. OFSTED would be charged with monitoring progress towards the goal of at least 80 per cent of primary and secondary schools incorporating wellbeing programmes into school curriculum by 2020.12

 

Mindfulness to become a regular practice taught in schools. Schools will routinely measure the well-being of their children, and all teachers will be taught to understand mental illness and how it can be helped.13

 

We also recommend preventive policies and major social changes.14 Policy-makers can increasingly design their policies to maximize the life-satisfaction of the population, rather than, for example, only the level of national income.15

As the O’Donnell Report observes, there is good evidence that children’s emotional wellbeing strongly predicts their later mental health as adults. Therefore that which nurtures children’s wellbeing – including practices like mindfulness – are an important policy priority.16

 

Sourced from these three 2014 Publications:

 

Published 3 July 2014
Richard Layard and David M Clark

Thrive: The Power of Evidence-Based Psychological Therapies
Video Link
http://www.lse.ac.uk/publicEvents/events/2014/07/20140710t1830vOT.aspx

 

Published 8 July 2014
CentreForum Mental Health Commission

The Pursuit of Happiness: A New Ambition for our Mental Health
http://www.centreforum.org/index.php/mainpublications/640-mental-health-commission-final-report
 

Download Link
http://www.centreforum.org/assets/pubs/the-pursuit-of-happiness.pdf 

 

Published 11 September 2014

APPG on Wellbeing Economics

Wellbeing in four policy areas
http://parliamentarywellbeinggroup.org.uk/
Download Link
http://b.3cdn.net/nefoundation/ccdf9782b6d8700f7c_lcm6i2ed7.pdf

 

References

  1. Thrive: The Power of Evidence Based Psychological Therapies; Page 45
  2. Thrive: The Power of Evidence Based Psychological Therapies; Page 44
  3. Thrive: The Power of Evidence Based Psychological Therapies; Page 63
  4. The Pursuit of Happiness: A New Ambition for our Mental Health; Page 32
  5. Thrive: The Power of Evidence Based Psychological Therapies; Page 224
  6. Thrive: The Power of Evidence Based Psychological Therapies; Page 81
  7. Thrive: The Power of Evidence Based Psychological Therapies; Page 83
  8. Wellbeing in four policy areas: Report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Wellbeing Economics; Page 31
  9. Thrive: The Power of Evidence Based Psychological Therapies; Page 88
  10. Wellbeing in four policy areas: Report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Wellbeing Economics; Page 33
  11. The Pursuit of Happiness: A New Ambition for our Mental Health; Page 35
  12. The Pursuit of Happiness: A New Ambition for our Mental Health; Page 36
  13. Thrive: The Power of Evidence Based Psychological Therapies; Page 256-257
  14. Thrive: The Power of Evidence Based Psychological Therapies; Page 13
  15. Thrive: The Power of Evidence Based Psychological Therapies; Page 64
  16. Wellbeing in four policy areas: Report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Wellbeing Economics; Page 33-34
  17. The Key statistics for mental health problems in children and young people "It is known that 50% of mental illness in adult life (excluding dementia) starts before age 15 and 75% by age 18" are from Chapter 10 of the Chief Medical Officer's annual report 2012: Our Children Deserve Better: Prevention Pays.