Delivering national public mental health – experience from England

Ian F. Walker*, Jude Stansfield, Liliosa Makurah, Helen Garnham, Claire Robson, Cameron Lugton, Nancy Hey, Gregor Henderson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Mental health is an emerging health policy priority globally. The emphasis on closing the treatment gap in psychiatric services is now being complemented by an increasing focus on prevention and health promotion. The purpose of this paper is to describe the programmes and delivery of public mental health in England led by Public Health England (PHE), an arms-length body of the Department of Health and Social Care. Design/methodology/approach: This technical paper outlines the general approach PHE has taken in delivering national work in public mental health and describes several key areas of work: children and young people, suicide prevention, workplace and workforce, strategic engagement with stakeholders, data and information and evidence synthesis. Findings: A description of the various programmes and guidance documents that PHE have produced are described and referenced, which form a substantial body of work in public mental health. Practical implications: The outputs from PHE may assist in informing the approach to public mental health that other government agencies could consider adopting. The resources described and signposted within this technical paper are publicly available for readers. Originality/value: England is one of a small group of countries that have a track record in delivering public mental health at a national level. This paper gives a unique and detailed insight into this work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-123
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Public Mental Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Received 6 June 2018 Revised 21 December 2018 Accepted 11 March 2019 © Ian F. Walker, Jude Stansfield, Lily Makurah, Helen Garnham, Claire Robson, Cam Lugton, Nancy Hey and Gregor Henderson. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial & non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at licences/by/4.0/legalcode This work was supported by Public Health England but no funding was received for the writing or publishing of this technical paper. The views expressed in the publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Public Health England or the Department of Health and Social Care, UK Government.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Ian F. Walker, Jude Stansfield, Lily Makurah, Helen Garnham, Claire Robson, Cam Lugton, Nancy Hey and Gregor Henderson.


  • Government
  • Mental health
  • Policy
  • Prevention
  • Public health
  • Public mental health
  • Suicide prevention
  • Wellbeing


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