There is too little understanding among public health policy-makers and commissioners of the negative and positive impacts which the quality of couple relationships has at a population-wide level. Directors of public health need to take a less mechanistic approach to public health issues such as alcohol abuse, substance misuse and obesity, and TCCR believes that the quality of couple relationships should be seen as a key area which targeted public health interventions can influence.

How we are bringing about change

Engaging with the changing commissioning landscape

The renewed focus on public health occasioned by reforms to the health and social care commissioning landscape currently before Parliament) offers commissioners and policy-makers an invaluable opportunity to think radically and creatively about how to bring about much-needed improvements in people’s health and well-being.

TCCR believes that the commissioning of relationship support has enormous, largely untapped potential to help GP and local authority commissioners improve the public health of their populations and demonstrate improved outcomes against a range of indicators contained in the Government's Public Health Outcomes Framework.

Couple relationships play a hugely significant, but little understood, role in a great many of the public health problems and challenges which these newly-established bodies and groupings will be charged with tackling.  In conjunction with our Evidence briefing Relationship difficulties: stopping them from starting, stopping them from getting worse, our Evidence briefing What do have couple relationships have to do with: public health?  sets out research findings on four major public health concerns – alcohol use, cardiovascular disease, childhood obesity and diabetes – to show why public health commissioning must place the couple relationship centre stage in order to effect lasting improvements in the nation’s health and well-being.

Supporting GPs and clinical commissioning groups to improve public health

Research evidence demonstrates the crucial importance of the quality of couple relationships, not only for the mental health and well-being of adult partners, but for their children as well. Over the last thirty years, the evidence base for the effectiveness of couple therapy has grown, showing that couple counselling interventions have an impact on both adult mental health, depression, drug abuse, alcoholism and domestic violence together with improvements in long-term outcomes for children.

TCCR believes that couple counselling interventions should form part of the suite of interventions which people can expect to access through primary care, and will be producing an Information Briefing on couple counselling for parents in primary care to inform and support GPs and clinical commissioning groups on this subject.