Tackling Health Inequalities

Health inequalities are differences in health between different groups or populations of people. Health inequalities exist because different people and groups of people experience different social, environmental and economic conditions during their lives. These different conditions can affect how likely it is for people to become ill, how able they are to prevent themselves getting ill and what support they are able to access if they do become ill.

Although poor mental health can affect anyone, some people and groups have more risk factors, and fewer protective factors - leaving them more vulnerable to mental ill health.

An important part of tackling health inequalities is building on assets that people and communities have and what they can do themselves. Assets can be described as things that people and communities have that help people stay healthy. Examples could be things like supportive friends, stable employment, a strong sense of community in a neighbourhood or a local sports group.

To build on assets means involving people and recognising that:

  • People have and are assets
  • Our focus should be on building on existing assets
  • Services should help and support people rather than just deliver something to them
  • There should be an emphasis on using peer support networks - people with a particular life experience supporting other people with similar life experience.

Last Reviewed: 16/07/2014