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DHFor some the real problems start after the ‘safe’ return home - Government Ministers have pledged to further improve mental health services for the Armed Forces through a programme of joint working.  The Ministry of Defence and Department for Health have announced that, along with Armed Forces charity Combat Stress, they would continue to work together to move forward recommendations from the Fighting Fit report into military mental health.

The MoD operates a range of measures to tackle mental health issues among the Armed Forces. In Afghanistan, Community Psychiatric Nurses are on hand to provide any care & treatment needed; they are supported by visiting consultant psychiatrists.  In addition, two UK-based teams of psychiatrists & mental health nurses are available to deploy to Afghanistan at short notice, if required.

There are 15 military Departments of Community Mental Health across the UK, which provide out-patient mental healthcare. These teams are made up of psychiatrists & mental health nurses, with support from clinical psychologists & mental health social workers.
Press release ~ Combat Stress ~ Management of Mental Health in Veterans: The role of the Third Sector Charity Combat Stress ~ Fighting Fit - A mental health plan for servicemen and veterans ~ Reserves' Mental Health Programme ~ Factsheet: Medical Assessment Programme ~ Post-traumatic stress disorder ~ Shedding light on mental health in the forces ~ Talking about mental health problems ~ Understanding post-traumatic stress disorder ~ Related recent press release ~ BIG: Forces in Mind Trust ~ Confederation of British Service and Ex-service Organisations (COBSEO) ~ Defence Medical Services ~ Veterans UK ~ Community Veterans Mental Health Service ~ Veterans pilot sites in the UK and associated services ~ An Evaluation of the Community Veterans Mental Health Pilots ~ Cornwall Community Veterans Service ~ The Nation’s Commitment: Cross-Government Support to our Armed Forces, their Families and Veterans ~ Experiences of homeless ex-service personnel ~ Mental Health Care Provision in the U.K. Armed Forces ~ NAO: MoD – Treating injury and illness arising from military operation ~ Service Personnel Command Paper ~ NHS Choices: Talking Therapies ~ Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Commissioning Toolkit ~ Related previous press release ~ Howard League for Penal Reform – Veterans Inquiry ~ Related previous PR ~ Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen’s Families Association (SAFA) – Forces Help ~ Providing for our people ~ King's Centre for Military Health Research ~ KCMHR related publications (wait for page to load) ~ NICE - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

nefWill all Be Well again in the future? - A week on from the news that David Cameron will ask the Office of National Statistics to start measuring the UK’s wellbeing, a new report says that local authorities should take a proactive role in improving the wellbeing of residents.

The report, The Role of Local Government in Promoting Wellbeing, is being published by Local Government Improvement and Development (LGID) & the National Mental Health Development Unit (NMHDU) and is written by nef (the new economics foundation).

It argues that focusing on wellbeing can help local government respond to significant reductions in its finances, by preventing long-term problems and ensuring that positive outcomes are achieved efficiently.  This will make the most of the unprecedented ‘opportunity’ councils are experiencing to reshape their role. It highlights numerous examples of councils who are doing pioneering work in this area, from all parts of the UK.
Press release ~ Role of Local Government in Promoting Wellbeing ~ PM’s speech on wellbeing ~ Liverpool: 2010 the ‘Year of Health and Wellbeing’ ~ Lancashire Partnership: Mental Wellbeing Impact Assessment toolkit ~ Local Government Improvement and Development – Local wellbeing project ~ Five Ways to Well-being: The Evidence ~ Local Wellbeing Project ~ National Mental Health Development Unit ~ nef (the new economics foundation) ~ nef: National accounts of wellbeing ~ Big Lottery Fund Well-being Programme Evaluation Tool ~ Happy Planet Index ~ Well-being Module for the European Social Survey ~ LGA Community Wellbeing Board ~ Leadership for wellbeing in Staffordshire ~ A glass half-full: how an asset approach can improve community health and wellbeing-being ~ Guidance for employers on promoting mental wellbeing through productive and healthy working conditions ~ Making the case for the social sciences: Wellbeing ~ National Advisory Council for Children’s Mental Health & Psychological Well-being ~ Promoting young people's social and emotional wellbeing in secondary education ~ Older People’s Wellbeing Monitor for Wales 2009 ~ Guidance for Occupational therapy and physical activity interventions to promote the mental wellbeing of older people in primary care and residential care ~ No Charge? Valuing the Natural Environment ~ A Bit Rich - Calculating the real value to society of different professions ~ Sustainable Development: Wellbeing ~ The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS) ~ Legatum Prosperity Index ~ Bhutan: Gross National Happiness ~ Steps for Stress ~ Make Me Happier - A new way to feel better ~ MMH: Links & Helplines plus stories

CLGAid to living or only useful for pub quizzes? - Recently South Ribble Borough Council became the 100th local authority to put its spending data over £500 online for armchair auditors to scrutinise.  The milestone comes on the day Whitehall met its own promise to publish the first of its spending data above £25,000 online. CLG has already started publishing all its spending over £500.

Greater transparency is ‘at the heart’ of the Government's shared commitment to enable the public to not only hold politicians and public bodies to account, but allow Web developers & app designers to transform Government data into ingenious mobile phone or home computer applications, to help people move house, choose a school or care home or even find their nearest postbox - making everyday local life that little bit easier.  See links below for some of the best sites & apps out there for budding Armchair Auditors.
JRFOften beautiful, but usually a long walk (little public transport) to anywhere or any service - New research released last week shows people living in rural areas typically need to spend 10-20% more than people in urban areas to reach a 'minimum acceptable living standard'.  These higher costs mean a single person living in a village needs to earn at least 50% above the minimum wage (£5.93 per hour) to make ends meet, but the higher costs of living in rural areas contrast with widespread low rural pay so many rural workers fall well short of being able to afford their essential needs. 

The findings illustrate that the more remote the area, the greater the extra expense. To afford a minimum standard of living, a single person needs to earn at least: 
* £15,600 a year in a rural town
* £17,900 a year in a village
*£18,600 in a hamlet or the remote countryside
In comparison, urban dwellers need £14,400, to meet the specified minimum. 

An online calculator allows individuals to work out their minimum earnings requirement adjusted for the number & ages of people in their household and whether they live in a city, town, village or hamlet.
Press release ~ A minimum income standard for rural households (see also related articles to rt. of webpage) ~ Rural Advocate report 2010 ~ State of the countryside 2010 (VLF 26Mb) ~ State of the countryside updates (scroll down) ~ Rural Minimum Income Standard Roundtable ~ A minimum income standard for rural areas ~ Coalition for Rural Children and Young People ~ Position statement - 'How can public resources be fairly allocated between different places? ~ 'Recognising rural interests within Regional Strategies' briefing note ~ The potential impacts on rural communities of future public austerity ~ ‘Mind the Gap − Digital England: a rural perspective’ ~ CRC: Hands Up to fuel poverty ~ Rural Fuel Poverty ~ Taylor Review into rural housing and economies ~ Government response to the Matthew Taylor Review: Implementation plan ~ 10 Big Numbers ~ EEDA Short guide to Rural proofing ~ Rural Accessibility report and best practice case studies ~ Download 'Indicators of Poverty and Social Exclusion in Rural England: 2009' ~ Key facts document providing the headline findings of the report ~ JRF: The Poverty Site ~ Related previous press release ~ Bevan Foundation ~ Paying the Price of Being Poor ~ JRF: Monitoring poverty and social exclusion in Wales 2009 ~ Child Poverty and Social Exclusion in Rural Wales (scroll down) ~ ‘Child Poverty Solutions Wales’ website ~ Children in severe poverty in Wales: an agenda for action

Newswire – CSJ:  Often ‘out of site & rarely protesting’ and therefore ‘out of the political mind’ - The new coalition Government has been urged to tackle shocking levels of poverty & social exclusion in older age in a new report from the independent Centre for Social Justice (CSJ). Its landmark 250-page interim review - The Forgotten Age - outlines how loneliness, isolation & social breakdown have fuelled poverty in later life for millions of Britain's pensioners for too long.

Although the report celebrates the fact people are living longer and that many older citizens are ‘the heartbeat of volunteering and civic participation’ in communities, it also exposes how too many face extreme challenges in terms of money, health, lifestyle, communities, housing and care.  As a result it says there is an unacceptably large group of older people that has been left behind, and is in danger of being forgotten, by the rest of society.
Press release ~ ‘The Forgotten Age: Understanding Poverty and Social Exclusion in Later Life’ An Interim Report from the CSJ Older Age Working Group ~ Breakthrough Britain. Ending the Costs of Social Breakdown ~ DWP research report 713: local delivery of joined-up services for older people ~ DWP working paper 90: measuring attitudes to age in Britain: reliability and validity of the indicators ~ Related press release relating to British Asians ~ Worried about your memory?WAG: Health and social care ~ Building a Society for All Ages ~ DH – Older People ~ Financial care models in Scotland and the UK ~ Future demand for long-term care in the UK: A summary of projections of long-term care finance for older people to 2051 ~ JRF:  The material resources and well-being of older people ~ The material resources and well-being of older people ~ JRF: Older People – A Better Life ~ Disruptions in family and work life: Implications for support in later life ~ Research Project: ‘Disruptions in family and work life ~ Action on Elder Abuse ~ DH: No secrets: guidance on developing and implementing multi-agency policies and procedures to protect vulnerable adults from abuse ~ World Elder Abuse Awareness Day ~ Age UK: Poverty in retirement ~ Inequalities in health in an ageing population, patterns, causes and consequences ~ Full of Life government campaign ~ DWP – Preparing for an Aging Society ~ ‘Boomers and beyond: intergenerational consumption and the mature imagination’ ~ EHRC: Just Ageing? ~ TAEN - The Age and Employment Network ~ Older People’s Wellbeing Monitor for Wales 2009 ~ United Nations Principles for Older People ~ Older People and Ageing Research and Development Network (OPAN)

DfE:  ‘Education, Education, Education’, replaced by ‘Back to locally based basics’? - A reform programme that ‘puts teachers at the heart of school improvement and frees schools from central government direction’ was published last week by Education Secretary Michael Gove.  The schools White Paper - The Importance of Teaching - explains that ‘schools will be freed from centralised bureaucracy and endless government interference, in return for greater accountability to parents and local communities’.

It commits Government to cutting away unnecessary duties, processes, guidance & requirements and sets out:
* powers for teachers to improve discipline in the classroom
* a vision for a transformed school curriculum
* the reform of school performance tables
* a pupil premium to channel more money to the most deprived children, and
* plans to develop a fairer & more transparent funding system.
Press release ~ Schools White Paper ~ See what teachers, parents and children are saying about education ~ Education Secretary Michael Gove talking about the White Paper ~ CSJR response PR ~ Related ippr PR ~ CBI response PR ~ DfE PR with other organisation’s responses

Industry NewsPerformance Improvement Implementation Delivers Multi-Million Pound Savings and 30% Plus Increase in Productivity - Government organisations including HMRC, CLG and NICO have recently achieved exceptional levels of operational performance through the effective engagement of their employees.
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