Debate on Women's Mental Health, House of Commons, 3 October 2019

Councils across the country are doing all they can to safeguard and protect women and girls from all forms of harm. We support a public health approach to tackling serious violent crime against women and girls, which is a key contributor to poor mental health.


Key messages

  • For many people, mental ill health may be the cause or effect of a wider set of issues within their lives. This could include relationship break-downs, domestic violence, homelessness or housing difficulties, missed education opportunities, unemployment, financial difficulties, debt, ill health, substance misuse and interaction with the criminal justice system. Councils have a unique role in making the links between these sets of issues and can tackle the underlying causes, rather than waiting to deal with an individual crisis.
  • Councils across the country are doing all they can to safeguard and protect women and girls from all forms of harm. We support a public health approach to tackling serious violent crime against women and girls, which is a key contributor to poor mental health.
  • Interventions require the input of a range of partners, including those in the health and education sectors, as opposed to relying solely on a criminal justice strategy. This means there needs to be greater investment in cost-effective early intervention and prevention schemes that help stop violence and abuse occurring in the first place.
  • Councils are on the frontline of identifying and tackling harmful practices against women, including FGM. The National FGM Centre is an initiative jointly run by the LGA and Barnardo’s which is working to help fulfil the Government’s pledge to end FGM in the UK by 2030.
  • Over half of all mental ill health starts before the age of 14, with 75 per cent of mental health disorders starting by 24 years of age. Children and young people’s chances of thriving dramatically increase the earlier we provide help as well as saving money in the longer term. Councils strive to make sure that every child gets the best start and is able to go on and live a healthy, safe and prosperous life, despite seeing more than 560 cases of children coming into care because of mental health issues affecting either them or their family. This is an increase of more than 50 per cent in just four years.
  • A quarter of young women aged 17 to 19 have a mental health disorder. Half of them have self-harmed or attempted to take their own life. Suicide prevention is a public health priority for local government and every council has a suicide prevention plan in place.