MWIA Policy Support
The World Health Organisation European Declaration on Mental Health (2005) confirmed the policy context for developing the MWIA toolkit:
“There is no health without mental health. Mental health is central to the human, social and economic capital of nations and should therefore be considered as an integral and essential part of other public policy areas such as human rights, social care, education and employment.” WHO European Ministerial Conference on Mental Health. Facing the Challenges, Building Solutions (2005)
Nationally, MWIA is supported through the following documents: National Service Framework for Mental Health (DH 1999) – currently being revised as ‘New Horizons’, the Public Health White Paper: Choosing Health (DH 2004) and the Health and Social Care White paper: Our Health, Our Care, Our Say (DH 2006). These policies prioritise improving mental health and well-being through local strategies and increasing awareness.
A common objective of local Mental Health Promotion strategies is to integrate mental health into local policy – creating mentally healthy public policy. The current national guidance on Improving Mental Health and Well-being – Making it Possible (NIMHE 2005) further reiterates the need to embed mental health across a range of stakeholder programmes and policies.
Within Europe, both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Commission are placing increasing emphasis on the contribution of mental health to future health and prosperity (European Commission 2005; Jane-Llopis and Anderson 2005). The WHO Declaration, signed the United Kingdom (along with 52 other European countries) in Helsinki in January 2005 calls for action to “assess the potential impact of any new policy on the mental well-being of the population before its introduction, and evaluate its results afterwards.” (p.4).
This call for mental health impact assessment is reiterated in the European Union Green Paper on mental health and subsequent European Pact for Mental Health and Wellbeing) , which is likely to make a further contribution to raising the profile of mental health (European Commission 2005).
This positive policy environment provides a helpful context for getting MWIA on the agenda. It also supplies a framework for integrating mental well-being impact assessment with existing efforts to improve mental health and well-being, as well as with wider regional, national and international initiatives relevant to mental health, e.g. human rights and civil liberties, social inclusion, anti-poverty, reducing inequalities and addressing violence.
Health in MWIA