Impact of COVID-19 discussed as Annual Public Health report is presented to Cabinet

The latest annual report from the director of public health at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council will be presented to Cabinet on Tuesday 27 July 2021 (item 6).

Stack of white report papers on a table tied with green twine

In his report, Krishna Ramkhelawon, Director of Public Health, reflects on the key achievements and challenges faced during these unprecedented times. The report covers key areas highly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic which the council will look to refresh and address including, mental health, obesity, drug and alcohol misuse, and wellbeing of some our more vulnerable groups.

COVID-19 has impacted significantly on mental wellbeing, from people dealing with the illness and bereavement, the consequences of living with restrictions, the closure of schools and workplaces and businesses.

The report considers the factors which play a crucial role in shaping mental health and wellbeing outcomes, supported through the local South East Essex Mental Health Forum. This includes, help, guidance and information, regular physical activity, access to 24/7 mental health support and promoting self-care and self-help.

The report details how the council is due to launch a Health and Wellbeing strategy for Southend soon, with adult obesity and weight management a key priority, while health promotions are also being planned to empower people to assess and manage their own drug and alcohol usage. The profiles of websites and support services which promote self-care and self-help, will be raised to heighten awareness, while extra effort will be paid to more vulnerable groups, such as unpaid carers, homeless people and those living with autism.

Krishna Ramkhelawon, director of public health, said: “We need to strike a balance between the challenge the continued management of the coronavirus pandemic and the recovery of services, alongside delivery of the Southend 2050 ambition and the NHS’s Health and Care Partnership strategy, for Mid and South Essex.

“This is an opportunity to review our commissioning related services, make the most of our collaboration with the community sector, and allow our communities to play a more active role in designing services and making their own health decisions.

“Covid is still with us, so as we plan for winter, we will need to recalibrate, drive recovery and continue to adapt to live with this virus and its many variants.”

Published: 20th July 2021

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