Covid-19: understanding inequalities in mental health during the pandemic #covid19rftlks

Covid-19: understanding inequalities in mental health during the pandemic | Centre for Mental Health

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought health inequalities into sharp focus. The unequal impacts of the virus are also extending inequalities in mental health.

This briefing paper, produced by Centre for Mental Health and supported by 13 other national mental health charities, explores the mental health inequalities that are associated with the pandemic in the UK. It finds that the virus and the lockdown are putting greater pressure on groups and communities whose mental health was already poorer and more precarious.

Full paper: Covid-19: understanding inequalities in mental health during the pandemic

Racial disparities in mental health

The Race Equality Foundation has published a report on the persistent racial disparities in mental health. The work draws on the most recent published research from the last five years together with insights from two events and conversations across the sector. 

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The report covers:

  • Prevalence
  • Access
  • Assessment
  • Treatment
  • Recovery

The literature review  identifies some causative factors and practice that could help
to address the disparities and improve experiences and outcomes for black and minority ethnic communities.

The authors suggest Commissioning needs to understand both the persistent nature of these inequalities, and that there are ways to address them. The collection and quality of data must be improved in order to improve evidence-based policies and interventions, particularly with regards to intersections of ethnicity, race, faith, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

In turn this may lead to a greater focus on prevention through understanding and addressing the wider determinants of health. The report also sets out recommendations to health agencies, professionals and the voluntary sector.

Full report: Racial disparities in mental health: Literature and evidence review

Fair Society Healthy Lives (Marmot review)

Institute of Health Equity & The Health Foundation| February 2020 | Fair Society Healthy Lives (The Marmot Review)

“People with higher socioeconomic position in society have a greater array of life chances and more opportunities to lead a flourishing life. They also have better health. The two are linked: the more favoured people are, socially and economically, the better their health”, writes Michael Marmot in the executive summary of the Marmot Review.

The review Health Equity in England: The Marmot Review 10 Years On’,  examines the  progress in addressing health inequalities in England, in the decade since the Marmot Reveiw was published in 2010; it also proposes recommendations for future action.

Fair Society, Healthy Lives

Health Organisation: Health Equity in England: The Marmot review 10 years on

Click to access Health%20Equity%20in%20England_The%20Marmot%20Review%2010%20Years%20On_full%20report.pdf

BMJ Health equity in England: the Marmot review 10 years on

In the news:

BBC News Poorest women’s life expectancy declines, finds report 

The Guardian Austerity blamed for life expectancy stalling for first time in century

Tackling social inequalities to reduce mental health problems

This report describes the extent of inequalities that contribute to poor mental health in the UK today. It explains how certain circumstances interact with our individual risk and discusses communities that are facing vulnerabilities | Mental Health Foundation

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For centuries, mental ill-health has been overlooked, misunderstood, stigmatised and, for a long time, inappropriately treated. Much of this is now changing, although misunderstanding and stigma are not yet things of the past.

As a society, we have some way to go before the extent of mental health problems and their damage to our individual and collective wellbeing is fully recognised and comprehensively responded to. The authors of this report argue that reducing mental health problems and their effects warrants the most urgent and committed public health effort of our generation.


As this paper will show, addressing social, economic, cultural and environmental inequalities will take us a long way towards achieving this goal. It makes a clearly evidenced case for why addressing inequalities can help to reduce the prevalence of mental health problems and makes a strong call for cross-sectoral action on mental health. The report concludes with proposed actions to address mental health inequalities.

Full report: Tackling social inequalities to reduce mental health problems: How everyone can flourish equally | Mental Health Foundation

A Strategy for healthier longer lives

The Health of the Nation: a strategy for healthier longer lives | All Party Parliamentary Group for Longevity

This document sets out a strategy and action plan to realise the Government’s ambition “for everyone to have five extra years of healthy, independent life by 2035 and to narrow the gap between the richest and poorest”. It makes a number of recommendations and finds that improving the health of our society needs to become a national objective, owned and driven in all places, by charities, businesses and the public, as well as government.

See also: Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s speech

Quality and inequality

How have inequalities in the quality of care changed over the last 10 years? | QualityWatch | The Health Foundation | Nuffield Trust


The NHS aims to provide high quality care for everyone that needs it. But inequalities in health care persist. The recent NHS Long Term Plan made it a priority to address ‘unwarranted’ differences in the care people receive.

QualityWatch has been looking across a whole range of services and performance measures to find out how inequalities in health care have changed over the last decade.

There are different types of inequalities in health care that might arise from the region of the country you live in, your ethnicity, gender, or socio-economic status. This data story takes a closer look at the association between deprivation in the area that a patient lives and quality of care.

The analysis finds people living in the most deprived areas of England experience a worse quality of NHS care and poorer health outcomes than people living in the least deprived areas. These include spending longer in A&E and having a worse experience of making a GP appointment.

Full detail: Quality and inequality | QualityWatch

See also: Poorest get worse quality of NHS care in England, new research finds | Nuffield Trust

Determinants of mental health

New briefing from Centre for Mental Health finds Mental health inequalities are closely linked to wider injustices in society and argues that more must be done to reduce these disparities.

‘Determinants of mental health’  explores why some groups of people have a much higher risk of mental ill health than others and what can be done to reduce the disparities.

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The briefing finds that mental health inequalities are closely linked to wider injustices in society. Inequalities in wealth, power and voice are linked to poorer mental health. Exclusion, discrimination, violence and insecurity all increase our risk of poor mental health and explain why some groups of people face markedly higher rates of mental ill health than others.

The briefing explores actions that can be taken, from communities and local services to national policies, to reduce mental health inequalities. They include action to reduce income inequality, housing insecurity and poor working conditions as well as changes to education and the provision of early years support to families.

Full briefing: Determinants of mental health | Commission for Equality in Mental Health | Centre for Mental Health

See also: Government must tackle unequal risks of mental ill health, says Commission for Equality in Mental Health | Centre for Mental Health News release


The economic influence of the NHS at the local level

The King’s Fund | January 2020| The economic influence of the NHS at the local level

A new long read from the King’s Fund has been written to help people working in the NHS understand the level of economic influence their organisations can have and the benefits this can bring to local populations, in a way they may not have considered before (Source: The King’s Fund).

The long read available from The King’s Fund The economic influence of the NHS at the local level

Unacceptable inequalities in health outcomes” for LGBT people “glare out wherever you look”

Commons Select Committee | October 2019| Unacceptable inequalities in health outcomes” for LGBT people “glare out wherever you look”

LGBT people are being let down in health and social care, by structures and services that are not inclusive or designed with them in mind, and by a lack of leadership in Government, NHS and social services.

In the report Health and Social Care and LGBT Communities published today (22 October), the Women and Equalities Committee has found that too often LGBT people are expected to fit into systems that assume they are straight and cisgender. But the Committee has found that deep inequalities exist in health outcomes for these communities and that treating them “the same” as non-LGBT people will not address these poor outcomes (Source: Commons Select Committee).

Full Commons Select Committee press release 

Read the summary

Read the conclusions and recommendations

Read the full report

New country profiles show changes in environmental health inequalities

World Health Organization | October  2019 | New country profiles show changes in environmental health inequalities

New country profiles released by the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health show how countries across the WHO European Region have achieved reductions in some areas of environmental health inequalities (Source: WHO)