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Supporting communities to tackle inequalities can improve wellbeing, says new BPS guidance

20 May 2022

Working with the community is the best way to help tackle the impact of mental health and social inequalities says new BPS guidance.

“Growing up in an environment with the constant pressure and stress of poverty can have a long-lasting impact on your mental health,” explains Carl Harris, lead author and chair of the BPS’ Community Psychology Section.

“For example, in the UK wealthier people live 10 years longer and enjoy an extra 20 years of healthy life than those in poverty*. Mental health inequalities are often due to social and material causes, so they can only be effectively addressed through wider action on social inequalities”.

The guidance builds on the NHS community mental health framework for adults and older adults and details how the NHS long-term plan’s vision for modernised, whole person, whole population approaches can be achieved by working in partnership with local communities.

It offers support to service leads and health commissioners in thinking about how they can build these community partnerships. It contains links to relevant research and gives examples of initiatives that have helped marginalised communities and services respond to adversity together. There is also an opportunity for psychologists and commissioners to join a community of practice, supporting each other in implementing these approaches.

The guidance was launched at the BPS event: Tackling social class and class-based inequalities: Implications of the new BPS Policy Campaign. The event forms part of a new #Makeit10 campaign the BPS will be launching shortly calling for social class to be included as a protected characteristic in the UK Equality Act.

Carl Harris added: “We know that social class-based discrimination has negative impacts on people’s life chances, widens health inequalities and limits opportunities. In order to truly ‘level up’, eliminating the discrimination associated with social class is vital.”

“That’s why the BPS will be campaigning to have social class added as a protected characteristic to the Equalities Act and help bring down the invisible barriers associated with this form of discrimination and disparity.”



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