Public and community services are services which are essential to the public’s well-being and should be accessible to all citizens (1). This involves public transport and community spaces, which are places where people can interact and include libraries, parks, creative outlets, and spaces for recreation. Legal support can include legal aid, which allows for some or all of legal fees to be paid for by the government (2).
Access to and high-quality public and community services are protective factors for mental health. Access to transport is a protective factor as it allows for access to health care, work, social networks, and education; which decreases loneliness and has other positive mental health effects (3). Community spaces are beneficial for mental health as they strengthen social networks, promote positive health behaviours, and increase equality through providing access to services such as free internet and books (4). In terms of legal support, many people do not know how to get legal support and/or cannot afford for legal services if they are ineligible for legal aid. This can lead to poverty, homelessness, and unemployment (5); which are risk factors for mental health difficulties.
1. World Health Organization. The world health report 2000 - Health systems: improving performance. Geneva; 2001.
2. NHS. Introduction to care and support [Internet]. NHS. 2018 [cited 2021 Jan 7]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/introduction-to-care-and-support/
3. Pedro L. Why voluntary organisations are essential to health service transformation: Get involved | NCVO BlogsNCVO Blogs [Internet]. NCVO. 2017 [cited 2021 Mar 2]. Available from: https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2017/08/23/why-voluntary-organisations-are-essential-to-health-service-transformation-get-involved/
4. What is primary care mental health?: WHO and Wonca Working Party on Mental Health. Ment Health Fam Med [Internet]. 2008 Mar [cited 2021 Feb 10];5(1):9–13. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22477841
5. Local Government Association. Being mindful of mental health. London; 2017 Jun.
6. Two-fifths of patients waiting for mental health treatment forced to resort to emergency or crisis services [Internet]. Royal College of Psychiatrists. 2020 [cited 2021 May 4]. Available from: https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/news-and-features/latest-news/detail/2020/10/06/two-fifths-of-patients-waiting-for-mental-health-treatment-forced-to-resort-to-emergency-or-crisis-services
7. Mind. Private sector care [Internet]. Mind for better mental health. 2017 [cited 2021 Feb 10]. Available from: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/seeking-help-for-a-mental-health-problem/private-sector-care/
8. Wilson C. Breaking Down the Barriers. a Strategy in Development. 2002.
9. Memon A, Taylor K, Mohebati LM, Sundin J, Cooper M, Scanlon T, et al. Perceived barriers to accessing mental health services among black and minority ethnic (BME) communities: A qualitative study in Southeast England. BMJ Open [Internet]. 2016 Nov 1 [cited 2021 Feb 10];6(11):e012337. Available from: http://bmjopen.bmj.com/