This is the third report on the health of the Devon population. The 2007-08 Annual Public Health Report focused on inequalities in health; the 2008-09 Annual Public Health Report on children and young people. This year’s report covers mental health in its broadest sense, from pregnancy through to old age. Most of us will come into contact with mental health issues during our lifetime – one in four of us will have personal experience of a mental health problem.
The report highlights the significance of early recognition and treatment of mental health problems, and draws attention to the compelling evidence for lifestyle changes and non-pharmaceutical interventions, as well as the importance of appropriate prescribing. The ‘invisibility’ of mental illness means that many people do not receive the support and/or treatment that could help them. There is also the problem of society’s attitudes towards mental health which can make people feel that there is a stigma associated with mental illness.
Also included in this year’s report is an update on progress on some of the major causes of illness in Devon, plus a summary of progress made on the recommendations of both previous Annual Public Health Reports.
I should like to thank my colleagues for their contributions and commend this report to you.
Dr Virginia Pearson, Joint Executive Director of Public Health