This report sets out ways that early years policy can narrow the opportunity gap between disadvantaged children and their peers.
The report urges government to be clearer about how progress towards narrowing the gap should be measured. It calls for greater focus on helping parents develop their children’s home learning environment. It also backs calls to impose higher qualification requirements on staff working with children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Contributors to the report include respected children’s charity Barnardo’s, the Early Intervention Foundation, the Family and Childcare Trust, and academics from the University of Oxford and London School of Economics.
Download the report
Access the media release
Download background summary of policy interventions over the last 20 years (referenced on page 8 of the report)
Read the summary of the report launch on 16 July 2014
Chaired by former minister for mental health, Paul Burstow MP, the CentreForum Mental Health Commission concludes its 12 month study on the state of wellbeing in England by identifying five key priorities between now and 2020.
The Commission's final report titled 'The pursuit of happiness' calls on policymakers to:
• Establish the mental wellbeing of the nation or the “pursuit of happiness” as a clear and measurable goal of government.
• Roll out a National Wellbeing Programme to promote mutual support, self-care and recovery, and reduce the crippling stigma that too often goes hand in hand with mental ill health.
• Prioritise investment in the mental health of children and young people right from conception.
• Make places of work mental health friendly with government leading the way as an employer.
• Better equip primary care to identify and treat mental health problems, closing the treatment gap that leaves one in four of the adult population needlessly suffering from depression and anxiety and 1-2% experiencing a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia.
The report also calls for parity of funding for mental health which currently receives 13% of NHS spend in England but accounts for 23% of demand. It is estimated that £13 billion is overspent every year on dealing with the physical health consequences of this unmet need.
Download the final report
Download call for evidence summary of key findings
Access the media release
Accompanying the Commission's final report is the first ever mental health-specific Atlas of Variation.
The atlas focuses on unwarranted – or preventable – variations in the mental health and wellbeing of England's population, exposing huge differences in people's circumstances and access to services.
One of the most concerning findings is that people with serious mental illnesses have significantly higher rates of premature mortality. But the atlas tells us much more than that.
Here are some examples.
Social determinants of poor mental health and wellbeing
• Children living in Tower Hamlets are 16 times more likely to grow up in poverty than children living in the Isles of Scilly.
• Teenagers living in Blackpool are six times more likely to become pregnant that teenagers living in Rutland.
• Pupils living in Liverpool are four times more likely to persistently absent from primary school compared to pupils living in Rutland.
• Young people living in Middlesbrough are five times more likely to not be in education, employment or training than young people living in Harrow.
Self-reported wellbeing and prevalence of mental health problems
• People who live in South Tyneside are three times more likely to be unhappy with their lives compared to people living in Cheshire East.
• People living in Middlesbrough are three times more likely to have a long term mental health problems than people living in Harrow.
• If you have a mental health problem and live in Brighton and Hove, you are five times more likely to access NHS adult or elderly mental health services than similar people living in Shropshire.
• If you live in Middlesbrough, you are seven times more likely to need to go into hospital for an acute condition that can normally be managed in the community, compared to people living in Hackney.
• If you have a serious mental illness and live in Newcastle upon Tyne, you are four times more likely to die prematurely than if you have a serious mental health problem but lived in the Isle of Wight.
Download the Atlas of Variation