The Mental Health Challenge was set up by Centre for Mental Health, Mental Health Foundation, Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, Royal College of Psychiatrists and YoungMinds.
The Challenge is funded by the Department of Health, Public Health England and NHS England through the voluntary sector Strategic Partnership programme. And Mind, one of the Mental Health Challenge partners, donated their time from 2014 towards 2015’s funding.
Andy Bell, Deputy Chief Executive of Centre for Mental Health:
“Every year almost one in four of us will experience mental ill health. Local councils can do a great deal to help promote good mental health in their communities and to ensure people with mental health conditions have better, more fulfilling lives. Member champions for mental health can help to raise awareness about mental health in any area of council business and in the wider community. We are delighted that ten councils have already taken up the Mental Health Challenge and we hope that many more will join them soon. Local leadership is crucial to make mental health the priority it should be in every community in England.”
Paul Bristow, Head of Policy and Communications at Mental Health Foundation:
“We applaud those individuals and local authorities who have already taken up the Mental Health Challenge and look forward to them being joined by many more, equally committed to improving the mental health of their communities. Mental health must be a key part of every public health strategy and local authorities have an essential role in building resilience, promoting wellbeing and helping prevent mental health problems in their communities. We are committed to supporting and working with these Champions to help them make a real difference.”
We’re Mind, the mental health charity for England and Wales. We believe no one should have to face a mental health problem alone. We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
Our network of 150 local Minds work with over 300,000 people running services across England and Wales. Services include supported housing, crisis helplines, drop-in centres, employment and training schemes, counselling and befriending.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind:
“We are proud to be part of an innovative movement that directly engages with councillors to ensure that mental health is one of their top priorities.
“At a time when the World Health Organisation predicts that depression will be the second biggest cause of ill health worldwide by 2020, it is vital that local authorities do more to recognise the true impact of mental health problems in their communities. We want to encourage councillors to sign up, learn more about mental health, and provide a voice for people whose needs are often ignored.”
As a national alliance of voluntary sector mental health providers, MHPF represents more than 60 organisations, from large national multiservice bodies to smaller, local service user led organisations. We aim to develop and strengthen the sector, promoting better standards of support in mental health services for the 5 million service users reached through our membership across England.
MHPF’s strategic position ensures the sector is well represented at a commissioning and policy level. Member organisations come together on areas of shared concern and interest, to keep involved with national changes. As well as being the single point of contact for a broad range of organisations for national bodies, MHPF advocates on behalf of the mental health voluntary and community sector.
Kathy Roberts, Chief Executive of MHPF:
“With one in five of us having a mental health condition at any one time, it is vital that mental health is a priority in local authorities; there is a need for councils to play a leadership role in promoting and improving mental health in each and every community. Tackling some of the widest inequalities in mental health is hugely important and councils should provide effective support in all areas of responsibility whether it is in housing, employment or community safety. MHPF is proud to be a partner in the Mental Health Challenge initiative and believe Champions can work with the voluntary and community sector in championing positive mental health locally and make a difference in their communities.”
Mark Winstanley, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness:
“Mental health affects all aspects of society, from our families and schools, to business and the economy. But too often people with mental illness can’t get the care they need because the right treatment and support isn’t available in their community.
Local authorities can play a crucial role in tackling those inequalities by making the mental health of people in their community a top priority across all areas of their work. Taking up the Mental Health Challenge is a great first step towards making that a reality, and we urge local governments to sign up now.”
Professor Sir Simon Wessely, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists:
“We are delighted to be one of the organisations supporting the Mental Health Challenge. We want to see councils promoting mental health across everything they do, and improving the lives of people with mental illness in their local communities. We already have a number of champions signed up, and look forward to welcoming more champions very soon.”
Sarah Brennan, Chief Executive of YoungMinds:
“The Mental Health Challenge is so important. Early intervention services, well funded and well structured at a local level are vital for ensuring children, young people and families can receive the help and support they need, as soon as they need it. Therefore working together as mental health organisations, with Challenge Champions, to make the case for prioritising mental health is a crucial way to improve the lives of everyone up and down the country.”