Public Health priorities

The Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board works to improve health and decrease health inequalities.

We work to ensure that people in Suffolk live long, fulfilling and healthy lives.

We can measure our success by seeing:

  • increased healthy life expectancies
  • a reduction in the differences in life expectancies between Suffolk communities 

Strategic outcomes for Suffolk

We have agreed four strategic outcomes based on the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment. They are also based on evidence which shows action in these areas will help us with our long term aims.

The priorities for action within these areas have been developed using the views of organisations and individuals across Suffolk.

The four priorities are listed below.

This is crucial for establishing a good foundation for future development.

Interventions in early infancy have been shown to produce better outcomes and can improve:

  • educational attainment
  • economic status
  • physical health
  • mental health

Children from the most deprived areas of Suffolk:

  • are 4.5 times more likely to be absent from their lessons
  • are more likely to be in the lowest 20% achievers at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage (aged 5)
  • perform 63% lower at GCSE level (aged 16)
  • are 34% more likely to be obese
  • are 3 times more likely to be a teenage parent
  • have higher prevalence of mental ill health (especially behavioural and emotional disorders)

Priorities for action:

  • Early intervention and prevention
  • Promoting a family focus across the work of all agencies including support to Suffolk Family Focus
  • Supporting parents to improve their own circumstances

Find out more about our priority to give every child in Suffolk the best start in life on the Healthy Suffolk website.

A healthy lifestyle improves the health and wellbeing of the population and that the environment we live in can facilitate this.

If green spaces are available and people feel safe, they are more likely to exercise. Exercise is also encouraged by well planned and properly linked walking and cycling routes. 

Tobaccoincreasing levels of obesity and excessive alcohol consumption affect quality of life and are contributing to increasing rates of long term conditions and hospital admissions.

The level of engagement of the population in their own health affects NHS and social care spending. 

"fully engaged scenario" is required for an affordable NHS and social care system in the future. This is where individuals make healthy lifestyle choices and organisations in the wider public and private sector work to improve health.

Priorities for action:

  • Creating an environment where it is easy to make healthy choices
  • Increasing the levels of physical activity and encouraging greater use of our natural environment
  • Decreasing the harm caused by alcohol to individuals and communities 
  • Improving access to suitable housing

Find out more about our priority to support people of working age to optimise their health and wellbeing on the Healthy Suffolk website.

As the population of older people in Suffolk increases, we want to ensure that they can enjoy a good quality of life.

People who enter old age healthily have a longer healthy life expectancy, free of disability.

We want to create an environment where older people can be:

  • active
  • engaged
  • independent
  • safe

We want older people to be part of supportive communities who value their experience and contribution.

Priorities for action:

  • A focus on prevention including the promotion of healthy lifestyles
  • A focus on reducing loneliness and social isolation for older people 

Find out more about our priority to give older people in Suffolk a good quality of life on the Healthy Suffolk website.

Mental ill health affects many people in our community:

  • 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life
  • 1 in 10 children aged between 5 and 16 years has a mental health problem
  • Self-harm affecting 1 in 10 of those aged between 15 and 16
  • 1 in 10 new mothers experience postnatal depression

At any one time, 1 in 6 adults has a mental health problem.

The proportion affected is much higher for those who are in prison – this is important in Suffolk where 4 prisons are based, one of which is the largest in Europe.

Mental ill health can negatively affect a young person’s education and an adult’s ability to work. Over a half of older people in acute hospitals for a physical problem also have a mental health condition.

Priorities for action:

  • Ensure Suffolk residents have access to good quality, effective and equitable mental health services when they need them
  • Reduce the rate of suicide in Suffolk
  • Improve the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children and young people in Suffolk.

Find out more about our priority to give people in Suffolk the opportunity to improve their mental health and wellbeing on the Healthy Suffolk website.

The Emotional Wellbeing Gateway website supports families and professionals with practical advice and resources about emotional wellbeing and mental health issues, including local community support groups. The site includes how to refer a child or young person to the Emotional Wellbeing Hub Service to access Mental Health Services.