PUBLIC SECT0R: DoH boosts mental health PROs work

The Department of Health (DoH) has taken action to boost the

promotion of mental health issues across Britain.

A communications guide titled Making It Happen, produced by mental

health charity Mentality, which was recruited last year, is being sent

to PROs in the social service and health sectors, to help them tackle

the issue more effectively.

The DoH sees the guide as key to helping PROs meet Government targets on

mental health promotion.

Local plans on promoting the employment of those with mental health

problems and reducing prejudice must be in place by March next year.

The guide offers help to develop these plans as well as a guide to


It also gives examples of more imaginative ways to communicate the

issues with different audiences.

Two key audiences for the DoH are children and the Afro-Caribbean


Promoting the subject in schools is seen as crucial to reduce prejudice

in the long term and help pupils and teachers recognise the early signs

of mental illness.

DoH research shows that young black men are over-represented on

psychiatric wards. The guide suggests liaising with barbers as a way of

communicating more effectively with Afro-Caribbeans.

Health minister Jacqui Smith, in charge of the Government's mental

health initiatives, said: 'Effective mental health promotion depends on

harnessing expertise, resources and partnerships across all


'We hope this guide will serve as a resource which people can dip in and

out of, making issue of those sections which are most relevant to their

work,' she added.

The DoH is also attempting to combat discrimination against those with

mental health problems with its Mindout campaign. Agency The Forster

Company was recruited earlier this year to work on the campaign.

Feature, p13.

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