Mental Health Needs Assessment

This mental health needs assessment aims to build the picture of mental health need across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. If you are looking for information about looking after your own mental health, or that of someone you know, please go to Keep Your Head, which brings together reliable information on mental health and wellbeing for people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Please follow the links below to access each chapter of the mental health needs assessment. Each chapter is being added online as it is completed, and is constantly updated:

The overarching local strategy relating to health and wellbeing is the Health and Wellbeing and Integrated Care Strategy (2022-2030). This strategy was developed by the Joint Health and Wellbeing Board of Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, and aims to improve the health and wellbeing of the local population. It has three main goals: increasing the number of years people spend in good health; reducing inequalities in preventable deaths before age 75; and achieving better outcomes for our children.

Key definitions

  • Mental health ‘exists on a continuum that can include periods of well-being and periods of distress, most of which will never evolve into a diagnosable disorder’ (1). Mental health conditions are symptoms that meet the criteria for diagnosis of a specific condition, although not everyone who experiences this will have received a diagnosis.
  • Mental wellbeing is a subjective measure of how people feel about their lives. It can be defined using a range of measures, spanning people’s day-to-day satisfaction and happiness, to how they feel about their future.
  • Mental health and wellbeing can be described as a continuum, where people can move between different levels of illness and wellbeing, depending on a range of factors.

Figure 2: The relationship between mental health and wellbeing. Image source: Nottingham Mental Health Needs Assessment

Need, demand and supply are also important aspects of this mental health needs assessment. We have based our definitions of these terms on the work of Rice et al. (2021), who stated that:

  • Need is the capacity to benefit from healthcare.
  • Demand for healthcare is the level of healthcare use at which the perceived health benefits equal the cost of accessing care.
  • Supply of healthcare is the services and treatments (both curative and preventative) provided by the health care system.

How was the needs assessment written?

It is based on national research and data, local data the insights of local stakeholders and those with lived experience of mental health conditions. Following the structure recommended by Public Health England, it covers:

  • Social and environmental factors important to public mental health,
  • Population groups at higher risk of mental health conditions,
  • Local mental health needs across the life-course.

Figure 1: Collaboration model for JSNA development. Source: Public Health England

Diagram showing that JSNA should be a combination of local and national inputs

Each chapter involved use of an expert advisory group of local professionals, in order to shape the direction of this subsection, and to ensure that the needs assessment builds on previous work and knowledge. If you have questions about the data included in this needs assessment, please get in touch at

  • Chapter One: There was no expert advisory group for this chapter
  • Chapter Two: The substance use section of this chapter was developed with the help of an expert advisory group. This group included representatives from Local Authority, CPFT, Change Grow Live, Addenbrookes hospital, and the SUN Network. As a result of these conversations, and the findings of the 2023 Drug and Alcohol Needs Assessment, the focus for this section is on better understanding of the barriers people with co-occurring conditions may face when accessing mental health support.
  • Chapter Three: The expert advisory group for perinatal mental health included professionals from children’s public health, maternity services, NHS Talking Therapies and the specialist perinatal mental health team.
  • Chapter Four: The expert advisory group included professionals from child and adolescent mental health services, commissioning and the voluntary and community sector.
  • Chapter Five: The expert advisory group included people with lived experiences of mental health services, healthcare professionals from CPFT, professionals from the voluntary and community sector and public health.

There is a large evidence-base of interventions that prevent poor mental health and promote good mental wellbeing. This subsection of the needs assessment is based on Campion’s 2012 evidence review on public mental health (2).

Figure 2: Evidence-base for preventing poor mental health and promoting good mental wellbeing. Adapted from: (2)


  1. UNICEF. On My Mind: Promoting, protecting and caring for children’s mental health [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2023 Jun 6]. Available from:
  2. Campion J. Public mental health: Evidence, practice and commissioning. Royal Society for Public Health. 2019;(May).