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Bracknell Forest Council

Cllr Dale Birch is Deputy Leader of Bracknell Forest Council as well as the Executive Member for Adult Social Care, Health & Housing. He became Chair of the Health & Well-Being Board on its formation in 2013 and since then has taken a lead role in a number of successful initiatives aimed at improving residents’ health. These have included the restructuring of local urgent care services and overseeing an award winning Public Health programme.

Mental health is a key priority for Cllr Birch, with current objectives including the transformation of services for young people and combating social isolation among older residents. He leads an approach in Bracknell Forest that has prevention at its core and sees the promotion of positive mental well-being as everyone’s business. Cllr Birch works hard to focus attention not only on the quality of services, but on addressing the gaps between them, the aim being to create a genuinely seamless system of healthcare.

By supporting mental health we exert a sustainable positive effect on everything else we do. Improved education, lower crime, better physical health and economic prosperity all to some degree depend on positive mental well-being. In that sense, there can be no more important focus for our time and energy.
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Champions say

"Early help is a key factor in providing effective support for people with mental health needs." Solihull metropolitan Borough Council

Mental Health Facts

Mental ill health affects us all

  • One in five of us has a mental health condition at any one time.
  • Around half of people with lifetime mental health problems experience the first symptoms before the age of 14.
  • Only a quarter of people with a mental health condition receive any treatment for it.
  • Nine out of ten people in prison have at least one mental health problem. Almost a quarter of prisoners have a mental illness that requires specialist treatment.
  • Mental ill health has an economic and social cost of £105bn a year.
  • Mental illness accounts for 28% of the total burden of disease but only 13% of NHS spending.
  • Untreated mental ill health adds around £10 billion a year to the cost of physical health care for people with long-term conditions.
  • People with severe and enduring mental health conditions die on average 20 years earlier than those without.
So take a proactive approach and promote mental health across your area
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Mental Health Challenge

Centre for Mental Health
Mental Health Foundation
Rethink Mental Illness
Royal College of Psychiatrists
Young Minds