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City of York Council

Janet Looker is the Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Young People on City of York Council.

Janet Looker was born and educated in the south west. She took a degree at Bristol University before moving north to York, where she has lived for 50 years.

Cllr Looker was a full-time parent, before becoming a solicitor in a private practice in York. Since retiring from this role she has been actively involved in the council and has been a councillor for the Guildhall Ward in York for 29 years.

Janet’s main interests in the council are education and young people. This is the second time she has held the top post in education, previously holding the post of Executive Member for Education for eight years when she helped to

shape the structure of York’s education service for the new unitary authority in 1996. She has always maintained a broad interest in the full range of council business, and has been a Cabinet or Shadow Cabinet Member for most of her political life.

Janet’s interest in mental health issues began when she represented people who had been Sectioned under the Mental Health Act in her career as a solicitor. She is particularly interested in how we can promote emotional resilience in young people.

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Champions say

"Tackling the stigma associated with mental health is a priority. Parity of Esteem isn’t just about providing better access to mental health services, but also in ensuring the 1 in 4 of us with a mental illness achieve equality in all aspects of life – such as work, education and physical health." Brighton and Hove City 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.
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