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Theme 4: Improving mental and physical health and well-being

Summary :: Our Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy :: Theme 4: Improving mental and physical health and well-being

Increasing attention is being paid to not just how long people live, but also how well they live.

Mental and physical health and wellbeing are affected by many issues, including crime and the perception of crime, proximity to green spaces, housing, unemployment, the quality of employment for those who are in work, debt and income level, the ability to live independently and autonomously, and freedom from pain and ill-health.

In addition to the wider determinants of health and wellbeing above, the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment identifies key individual-level risk factors that affect health and wellbeing on which we need to take action:


• tobacco use, both preventing people from starting smoking and helping people to stop smoking;
• harmful use of alcohol and drugs;
• physical inactivity;
• poor diet;
• high stress levels and poor mental wellbeing;
• poor sexual health.

Each of these risk factors is an aspect of 'lifestyle', the interaction of personal choice and responses to the social and physical environment. People need to make the right choices, as they have a personal responsibility for their own health, and this happens more readily in an environment in which these choices are easy or are the default choices.

Changing behaviour is difficult and behaviours are shaped by experiences and where we live. People who are isolated or going through stressful life circumstances find it very difficult to make lifestyle changes.

Improving mental and physical health and wellbeing therefore involves broader changes to the wider determinants that influence us all and specific changes for those with particular needs.

Priorities


• Support actions to make Medway a Dementia Friendly Community
• Influence the shaping of the environment in Medway to make healthy choices the easy choices
• Encourage initiatives to improve self-management of long-term conditions
• Support people with mostly good mental wellbeing to consciously maintain a good mental health
• Support the implementation of the suicide prevention plan
• Support work to reduce domestic abuse
• Reduce drug-related deaths