The national evaluation of the Better Mental Health Fund – report by the Centre for Mental health

30 August, 2023

Key learning points are shared on how investment can be used to improve mental health in local communities

This fantastic new report from the Centre for Mental Health evaluates the results of the ‘Better Mental Health Fund’, which was as set up by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) in 2021 to address mental health challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding for public mental health was given to local authorities in 40 of the most disadvantaged areas of England and this report shares key learning points on how investment can be used to improve mental health in local communities.

The Centre for Mental Health worked with local areas to understand how they used the fund in their communities, what they learned from this and what can be learned for policy and practice longer term. The fund was used to support projects such as pre- and post-natal support, befriending and projects addressing loneliness and supporting people facing financial insecurity and debt. The evaluation was conducted through a series of interviews and workshops, case study sites and video/podcast analysis. Key learning points included:

  • It’s possible to foster innovation in a short timescale, for example by adapting evidence-based targeted or universal interventions for specific populations.
  • Capacity building was a feature of many of the programmes, which provided relevant training for non-specialists in mental health. This potentially leaves a positive legacy but raises the issue of the ongoing development of this workforce.

Read the report here.