Council urged to join mental health challenge

Southwark Liberal Democrats have called on the Council to join a national campaign to help local residents experiencing mental health issues.

The Mental Health Challenge encourages and supports local leadership for mental health and wellbeing through councillors.   It is organised by several national mental health organisations, including the Centre for Mental Health, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Mind.

The Challenge sets out ten actions that will help Southwark promote mental health across all the Council’s work in a joined-up way. It includes the Council appointing a named ‘Mental Health Champion’ and a ‘Lead Council Officer’ for mental health issues.

Liberal Democrats have tabled a question to the Leader of Southwark for response at the next council assembly meeting calling on the Council to take up the Mental Health Challenge.  By joining the campaign, Southwark Council would show its support for:

  •  promoting positive mental health in the community
  • working to reduce mental health inequalities in Southwark

  • working with local partners to support people with mental health needs

  • tackling discrimination on the grounds of mental health in the community

  • listening to what Southwark residents need for better mental health.

Southwark Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson, Councillor David Noakes, said:

“One in four Southwark residents will experience mental health problems at some point in their life. Yet for decades, mental health has been neglected by all governments as the ‘Cinderella’ of health services with physical health issues given priority.

“Mental ill health touches all of us in some way and is not something that only affects older people.  Yet, only a quarter of people with a mental health condition receive any treatment for it because they don’t know where to turn, because help is not available readily or because there is a stigma attached to it still.

“It’s time for the Council to really show its commitment to giving mental health the equality it deserves by appointing a Southwark Mental Health Champion and a named senior council officer to work with local mental health users and their support networks.”