Policy paper

Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health

Updated 12 June 2023

About the Prevention Concordat

The Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health is underpinned by an understanding that taking a prevention-focused approach to improving the public’s mental health has been shown to make a valuable contribution to achieving a fairer and more equitable society.

The concordat promotes evidence-based planning and commissioning to increase the impact on reducing health inequalities. The sustainability and cost-effectiveness of this approach is enhanced by the inclusion of action that impacts on the wider determinants of mental health and wellbeing.

The Prevention Concordat is intended to provide a focus for cross-sector action to deliver a tangible increase in the adoption of public mental health approaches across:

  • local authorities
  • integrated care systems (ICSs)
  • the NHS
  • social care
  • public, private, and voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector organisations
  • educational settings
  • employers
  • emergency services
  • justice systems

It acknowledges the active role played by people with lived experience of mental health problems, individually and through user-led organisations.

This definition of the concordat has been agreed by the organisations listed at the end of this document. It represents a public mental health informed approach to prevention, as outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View and the Prevention Green Paper: Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s. It promotes relevant NICE guidance and existing evidence-based interventions and delivery approaches, such as ‘making every contact count’.

Watch a Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health video.

Consensus statement

The Prevention Concordat consensus statement was updated in 2022 following consultation with stakeholders. It describes the shared commitment of signatories to work together via the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health, through local and national action, to prevent mental health problems and promote good mental health.

Prevention Concordat signatories agree the following:

“Strengthening protective factors and reducing risk factors sit at the heart of our commitment to promoting good mental health. COVID-19 has highlighted long-standing social and economic inequalities. There is evidence that protective and risk factors for mental health are unequally distributed across the country, in our communities and for those with existing mental health conditions.

“We are committed to reducing mental health inequalities by taking action to address the following factors:

  • protective factors – maternal and infant mental health, early years support, family and parenting support, connecting with others and forming good relationships, good education, stable, secure, good quality and affordable housing, good quality work, a healthy standard of living, accessible safe and green outdoor space, arts and cultural activities, community cohesion

  • risk factors – poverty, discrimination, socio-economic inequalities, child neglect and abuse, unemployment, poor quality work, debt, drug and alcohol misuse, homelessness, loneliness, violence, discrimination

“This is an opportunity to build back better to create a fairer society, working with our voluntary and community partners, the health and social care sector, emergency services, local and national stakeholders. Signing the concordat means becoming part of a community of practice committed to taking evidence based preventive and promotional action to support the mental health of the whole population, those at greater risk of poor mental health, and those receiving treatment.

“Keeping people mentally well is as important as providing early help, and many interventions will also result in social and economic benefits, even in the short term.

“As signatories, we will work as a whole system and across organisational boundaries. We commit to supporting place-based population mental health through co-ordination of partnerships at ICS, local authority and neighbourhood levels. We will do this using needs assessment in partnership with local stakeholders, communities, people with lived experience and carers, all of whom know what matters most. As system leaders, we will also use employment and procurement levers to improve population mental health and wellbeing.

“We believe that the transformation of mental health services set out in the NHS Long Term Plan will be supported through strong prevention and early intervention, as we know that evidence-based prevention and promotion interventions reduce demand on the mental health system and support recovery. The inter-relationship between good mental and physical health should also inform the delivery of physical health improvement.

“We will encourage local and national stakeholders to invest in promoting mental wellbeing, preventing mental health conditions and preventing suicide. This will reduce demand for services and create savings not just for the NHS and social care, but also for employers, education providers, emergency services and justice systems.

“We will lead by example, taking action based on the best evidence. Where there is promising evidence, we are committed to building on this and to evaluating its efficacy. We will share our good practice and promote learning. We will regularly review and refresh our prevention approach and our action plan, giving an annual account of progress.”

Reasons to sign the Prevention Concordat

Signing the consensus statement and committing to a plan to address the prevention and promotion of better mental health is a cost-effective, evidence-based approach to reducing health inequalities and preventing future harm.

The impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) and the social and economic consequences of the pandemic have meant that tackling mental health at a population level has never been more important. COVID-19 was recognised as a public mental health emergency that exacerbated existing mental health inequalities.

Mental health and substance misuse problems are responsible for 21.3% of the burden of disease in England. It’s likely that this figure is an underestimate. This burden is expected to increase due to the impact of COVID-19. Promotion of better mental health and prevention measures should therefore be included in emergency planning, restoration and recovery.

Signing up to the consensus statement and action plan is an opportunity to join a community of practice working towards creating resilient communities and building the case for a shift to support prevention activity.

Ultimately, through both local and national action, our aim is to prevent mental health problems and promote good mental health.


The signatories listed here have signed the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health for All to highlight their commitment to engage in cross-sector, prevention-focused action through the adoption of public mental health approaches.

The first Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health was co-produced by:

  • Association of Directors of Public Health
  • Association of Mental Health Providers
  • Centre for Mental Health
  • Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition
  • Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)
  • Faculty of Public Health
  • Local Government Association
  • NHS Confederation Mental Health Network
  • Mental Health Foundation
  • National Survivor User Network
  • NHS England
  • Public Health England

The most recent Concordat statement was revised through consultation with stakeholders including What Works Centre for Wellbeing.

Map showing local authority and local health partnership signatories

Map showing local authority and local health partnership signatories

Map produced by: Public Health Analysis Directorate, OHID

Map last updated: March 2023

Local authority and local health partnership signatories

  • Bassetlaw District Council
  • Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
  • Birmingham City Council
  • Bolton Council
  • Bristol City Council
  • Browtowe Borough Council
  • Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Castle Point Borough and Rochford District
  • Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care System
  • City of London Corporation
  • Cornwall City Council
  • Coventry City Council
  • Derby City Council
  • Derbyshire County Council
  • Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Durham County Council
  • East Riding of Yorkshire Council
  • Gateshead Council
  • Gedling Borough Council
  • Great Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership
  • Hampshire County Council
  • Hartlepool Borough Council
  • Hertfordshire County Council
  • Hull Health and Wellbeing Board
  • Islington Council
  • Kirklees Council
  • Knowsley Council
  • Knowsley Health and Wellbeing Board
  • Leeds City Council
  • Lincolnshire Integrated Care Board
  • London Borough of Hackney
  • Middlesbrough Council
  • Newcastle City Council
  • Norfolk County Council
  • Northampton Borough Council
  • Northamptonshire Integrated Care System
  • Northumberland County Council
  • Nottingham City Council
  • Nottinghamshire County Council
  • Oxfordshire County Council
  • Redcar and Cleveland Council
  • Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames
  • Rushcliffe Borough Council
  • South Gloucestershire Council
  • South London Listens
  • St Helens Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Swindon Borough Council
  • Suffolk County Council
  • Sunderland City Council
  • Test Valley Partnership
  • Thurrock Council
  • Torbay Council
  • Waltham Forest Council
  • Warwickshire County Council
  • West Midlands Combined Authority
  • West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership
  • Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council
  • Worcestershire County Council
  • York City Council

National statutory organisations and professional bodies

  • Association of Directors of Public Health UK
  • Care Quality Commission
  • Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)
  • Faculty of Public Health
  • Health Education England
  • Local Government Association
  • National Fire Chiefs Council
  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
  • NHS England
  • Royal College of Nursing
  • Royal College of Psychiatrists

National voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations and wider bodies

  • Age UK
  • Arts and Health South West
  • Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
  • Association of Mental Health Providers
  • British Dietetic Association
  • British Islamic Medical Association
  • British Institute of Learning Disabilities
  • British Psychological Society
  • Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
  • Centre for Mental Health
  • Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition
  • Clinks
  • Company Chemists’ Association
  • Cruse Bereavement Care
  • Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Diabetes UK
  • East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service
  • Environment Agency
  • Essex County Fire and Rescue Service
  • Hampshire and Isle of White Fire and Rescue Service
  • Homeless Link – Rick Henderson, Chief Executive
  • Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust
  • Humberside Fire and Rescue Service
  • Inspirited Minds
  • Institute of Health Visiting
  • Kent Fire and Rescue Service
  • Key Ring Living Support Networks
  • Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • London Fire Brigade
  • Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
  • Maternity Action
  • Men’s Health Forum
  • Mental Health Foundation
  • Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service
  • METRO Charity
  • Mind
  • Muslim Council of Britain
  • Nacro
  • National Development Team for Inclusion
  • National LGBT Partnership
  • National Probation Service
  • National Suicide Prevention Alliance
  • National Survivor User Network
  • National Voices
  • Network Rail
  • Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue service
  • Rethink
  • Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland
  • Samaritans
  • Skills For Care
  • South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • StreetGames
  • Student Minds
  • Thrive LDN
  • West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • What Works Centre for Wellbeing
  • Yorkshire Ambulance Service
  • Young Minds
  • Young People’s Health Partnership
  • Youth Access

How to become a signatory

We’re inviting local authorities, health and wellbeing boards, ICSs, and other health partnerships to sign up to the Prevention Concordat. VCSE sector organisations should partner with local authorities and ICSs to apply.

We are currently offering ‘commitment level’, a pledge to take action over a minimum of 12 months. There are clear prompts in the application form to guide your submission and a requirement to state how you will tackle health inequalities.

To be recognised as a Prevention Concordat signatory, you need to agree to the consensus statement and produce an action plan addressing the 5 domain framework.

The domains are:

  • understanding local needs and assets
  • working together
  • taking action for prevention and promotion, including reducing health inequalities
  • defining success and measuring outcomes
  • leadership and direction

Sign-up process

  1. Contact the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) at publicmentalhealth@dhsc.gov.uk to request a Prevention Concordat Commitment action plan template.
  2. An OHID representative will put you in touch with a regional lead to contact you to discuss your application and review a draft action plan prior to submission.
  3. Email your final application form to publicmentalhealth@dhsc.gov.uk.
  4. OHID will be in touch with the result within 6 weeks of submission.
  5. During this time, the Prevention Concordat assessment panel will review your application and provide feedback. Assessment panels are held every 2 months. Applicants are invited to the panel session to provide a short presentation.
  6. Successful applicants will receive public recognition for their efforts including being listed on our webpage.

Resources and guidance

Programme resources include case studies, guidance and evidence reviews. Use our resources to support local areas with prevention planning arrangements.

Prevention Concordat resources are designed to help local areas to put in place effective prevention planning arrangements. They are aimed at health and wellbeing boards, local authorities, ICSs and other health partnerships.

A list of additional resources including a link to the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health Future NHS platform for signatories and a public mental health webinar series, are available from the programme team. Contact publicmentalhealth@dhsc.gov.uk.