Bury Public Health, Bury Council

Complex Mental Health, Digital Mapping – Interface

Briefly describe the initiative/ project/service; please include your aims and objectives

Mental health inequalities have widened as a result of the pandemic, and Bury is determined to improve wellbeing through a system-wide approach to mental health equality. Some people and communities are at much greater risk of worsened mental health: those living in poverty, poor quality housing or with precarious or no employment; those living with an existing mental health problem, including addiction to drugs, alcohol or gambling; older people who are more likely be bereaved by Covid-19 and may be at greater risk of social isolation; women and children exposed to violence and trauma at home; people with long-term health conditions; and people from BAME communities where prevalence of Covid-19 is higher and outcomes are worse.

These inequalities are to a great extent the result of economic and social factors that put some people and communities at a dramatically higher risk of poor mental health. This means they are amenable to action. Nearly 70 Bury residents, service users, commissioners and providers attended two co-production workshops to create a complex system map and action plan aimed at reducing mental health inequalities. The map and recommendations will now be taken to system leaders for next steps. A review of the evidence suggested basing this work around four themes that influence mental health and wellbeing: societal and economic; social andcommunity; environmental; physical and behavioural. Using workshop feedback, an interactive digital complex system map of Bury mental health and wellbeing factors was produced identifying opportunities for intervention and potential gaps. The innovation being an digital directory of interactive information sharing around Mental Health and inequalities.

What are the key achievements?

The workshops were effective in bringing a really broad range of system partners together for the first time in Bury to consider the wider determinants of mental health inequalities in a borough with a relatively polarised population and at a point in time, as we emerge from the pandemic, when everyone’s mental health has been impacted to a greater or lesser extent by the stresses and difficulties faced during the past two years.

The process of mapping those determinants of mental health helped build greater understanding of the main drivers of inequalities in mental health, and the complexity of the system that results in poor mental health amongst our residents. In addition, the presentations we heard from partners in housing, spatial planning and the voluntary sector plus the lived experience perspective, stimulated system thinking and cross disciplinary conversations about how we can intervene in the system to improve mental wellbeing and reduce inequalities. The next stage of the process is to establish what added value could be offered by taking forward the actions suggested and what is already taking place that could be either scaled up further, tweaked to more effectively address local inequalities, or coordinated more effectively alongside other existing interventions. The outputs of the workshops will feed in to the development of Bury coping and thriving framework, alongside a refreshed mental health JSNA, to ensure the strategy is designed to take a whole system approach, is insight driven, and will enable partners to work collaboratively and in a coordinated way to improve mental health, create mentally healthy communities, and reduce inequalities in mental health in Bury.

How Innovative is your initiative?

– New digital mapping system , online tool utilised for Gap analysis, used as an interactive public facing tool, embedded within a digital information resource
– Brought stakeholders together and offered a new vision platform to review interdependencies which pushes boundaries from a collaboration perspective
– Drive health impact assessments in a non typical way, which challenges the status quo
– Iterative surveillance and evolution of a bandwidth of mental health services and offers across Bury
– Bury Directory used as a end goal for service users to access Mental Health ( all health ) support
– Working with Greater Manchester Mental Health and The Centre for Mental Health
– Risk: Invested officer time when finite resource is an issue given local government landscapes
– Risk: Utilising a new platform ( digital map ) to present recommendations to senior leadership
– Risk: Challenging health literacy of service users

What are the key learning points?

A variety of public health stakeholders and service leads are replicating and adopting this Mental Health mapping and methods to achieve the aims and objectives for specific workstreams. Such as Coronary Heart Disease, NHS Health Checks, Physical Activity, Nutrition and Substance Misuse, all of which contribute to Bury Council’s corporate Lets Do It Strategy we have adopted in partnership with The Centre for Mental Health. Other localities across Greater Manchester are looking to utilise this unique mapping framework to sculpt further work objectives.

Additional Comments

The work has been undertaken buy Bury Council’s Public Health, Healthy Place team which is the smallest Public Health team across the 10 GM localities therefore this work has been prioritised given the long term, perceived wins and aspirational wellness outcomes, i.e. Life Expectancy and Quality of Life In those years for the population of Bury. Bury’s Healthy Place team has externally sourced funding via Greater Manchester Mental Health Services and worked with the Centre for Mental Health.