Our mental health is affected by a range of factors such as our social connections, where we live, our jobs, our level of income, our access to green spaces, how safe we feel and whether or not we face discrimination.

Evidence shows that being exposed to unhelpful stressful situations can lead to worsening mental health which, in turn, can also lead to a deterioration in physical health both in the short and long term. Some people also experience diagnosable mental health problems for reasons unrelated to their environment or situation.

The Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing in England found that an estimated 1 in 6 people aged 16+ had experienced symptoms of a common mental health problem in the past week. The likelihood of developing a mental health problem is higher for people experiencing the highest levels of economic disadvantage. Some minority groups are also more likely to experience poor mental health such as people with long-term physical health conditions and people identifying as LGBT+.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, our funded partners have reported an increase in poor mental health within communities experiencing the highest levels of disadvantage. Our evidence shows that there is also a mental health crisis developing amongst workers within the sector voluntary and community sector.

Stating the facts

Our work on mental health

We fund projects across England, Scotland and Wales which support people with mental health. Find stories. Funding through Nature for Health supports improved mental health through nature and is a priority within the Health Justice Fund

People’s Health Trust has been monitoring the mental health impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on people living in areas experiencing the highest levels of disadvantage, and the voluntary and community sector (VCS) workers in those communities.

We have published four reports based on findings of funded partner surveys about the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. In these reports partners raised concerns about mental health of project participants and practitioners, alongside concerns about worsening financial insecurity and social isolation.

Our latest report looking at the prevalence of mental health problems and the lack of support for grassroots and community VCS workers was published in June 2022. Findings from this work will support the Trust’s call for government and funder action on mental health within the VCS.

Over the last year, we have met with a small group of foundations who responded to our earlier call on the Funders Collaborative Hub for funders who would like to look at ways to collectively address this ongoing issue of concern. This group have developed a set of principles, which we think may form a useful basis for a funder commitment. We are now doing further work to refine these ideas, including discussion with mental health organisations. Find out more.

We recognise the impact of inequalities on mental health and strive to support our communities to make a difference. Together with residents and the local council we are working to make a change.

Stephanie Pritchard

Local Conversation Project Manager

The research on mental health

Mind: How common are mental health problems

The Recovery Village: The impact of mental health on life expectancy

Mental Health Foundation: Statistics