The University of Manchester commemorated World Mental Health Day on 10th October by introducing a fresh publication aimed at providing insights into the causes and difficulties surrounding poor mental health. Additionally, it offers a set of recommendations to assist policymakers in enhancing the well-being of millions.

“Open Minds,” created by Policy@Manchester, comprises ten evidence-based articles authored by the University’s academics. These articles delve into a range of topics, from the factors influencing the well-being of young individuals to the hurdles faced in delivering mental health care to the most vulnerable. It also covers breakthrough treatments and therapies aimed at alleviating the national and global burden of mental ill-health.

The online document kicks off with a foreword by Mark Rowland, the Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, who asserts that “as a country, we are looking through the wrong end of the telescope” when addressing mental health issues.

He writes: “The evidence base for preventing mental health problems is steadily growing. There are a good number of interventions like workplace support initiatives, anti-bullying programmes, and better perinatal mental health support, where the evidence is very clear.

“Governments and health systems should urgently invest in these solutions. And we know that the toxic impacts of poverty and discrimination are two of the most important drivers of mental ill-health; any cross-government plan must ensure that these are priorities.”

Mr Rowland stresses the need to “keep pushing the evidence further, harness new technologies and re-engineer our health systems to prioritise tackling the rising number of mental health problems in our society. We need new tools and new thinking. And we need to leave no inequality unaddressed in both the prevention and treatment of mental health problems.”

He continues: “That’s why the work of Policy@Manchester is so vital. There are some brilliant ideas in this report.”

Mr Rowland adds: “We need to follow the evidence, rigorously interrogating ideas and adopting them where they can be shown to be useful. In keeping with the title of this collection: let’s keep open minds.”

Professor Cecilia Wong, Academic Co-Director of Policy@Manchester, said; “This is an excellent and timely publication.

“Poor mental health has a terribly debilitating impact on our society. Practical policy solutions are urgently required.

“Open Minds combines leading research expertise on mental health and wellbeing with evidence-led policy analysis from across The University of Manchester.

“I hope it will be read widely and its recommendations are taken onboard by those with the power to tackle the mental health crisis.”

“Open Minds” is accessible for free on the Policy@Manchester website.