Imagine a city where everybody’s mental health and emotional wellbeing is a matter of pride across the community; where services support people in need, collaboratively, respectfully and without delay; where stigma and discrimination against people of all ages, with emotional and mental health difficulties are no more. That is the type of city we want York to be.
As the Chair of the York Health and Wellbeing Board and Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health, I am absolutely determined for York to take the lead in delivering first class mental health support services to all our residents.
In my years of experience working in schools and colleges, I know full well the importance of mental health and emotional wellbeing, particularly for our young residents. With the ever present stress and pressure of exams, it is vital that we work to ensure that their mental health and emotional wellbeing is taken as paramount and that, should they ever need to, they can rely on excellent support services here in York.
Partners across the city have recognised that good mental health and emotional wellbeing across all ages is absolutely key to enjoying the full benefits of what life in York has to offer.
Whenever there has been a need to consult and engage with our local residents they have always been very strong advocates for matters relating to mental health and wellbeing. As a consequence of these discussions mental health and wellbeing was identified as a key priority in the Health and Wellbeing Board’s Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2017-2022 with an ambition for every single resident of York to enjoy the best possible health and wellbeing throughout the course of their life.
With continued discussions raising the prominence of mental health and wellbeing locally it has been recognised that a dedicated All Age Mental Health Strategy was needed, which was launched in March 2018 and will run for five years.
In order to deliver on the priorities in the strategy a mental health partnership has been established.
We have successfully recruited a Chair for the partnership, Tim Madgwick, who is independent of statutory bodies, to oversee and hold stakeholders and system partners to account. He is passionate about mental health and knows from his previous working experience as a senior police officer, the impact poor mental health can have on people.
We have invited a wide variety of stakeholders to join the partnership, including the voluntary sector, system leaders and carers of those with mental ill health.
We believe that this is an exciting time to improve emotional and mental wellbeing in York and want to make this the responsibility of every resident, every community and every organisation in the city.
Our five year All Age Mental Health Strategy is the foundation for the future of growing emotional resilience and early intervention when required and a means for us to focus on engaging and meaningful recovery as well as supporting families and carers of people experiencing mental ill health. This is just the start of a transformational journey in York, learning from other places both nationally and internationally.