The Mental Health Challenge was set up by AMHP, Centre for Mental Health, Mental Health Foundation, Mind, NSUN, Rethink Mental Illness, Royal College of Psychiatrists and YoungMinds.

Association of Mental Health Providers is the leading representative body for voluntary and community sector mental health organisations in England and Wales. A registered charity, we represent our membership of small, medium and large providers – from locally focused to regional and national organisations with the purpose of providing a professional platform on which the vital work of all our members can be seen and heard. We recognise that everyone can be affected by mental ill-health and we believe it is essential that the mental health voluntary and community sector works together for a whole-system approach to improve health and care in the UK.

Kathy Roberts, Chief Executive of Association of Mental Health Providers:

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. The Association is proud to have set up and be a partner in the Mental Health Challenge initiative, and we believe Champions can work with the voluntary and community sector in championing positive mental health locally and make a difference in their communities.

Centre for Mental Health is an independent national mental health charity. We aim to inspire hope, opportunity and a fair chance in life for people of all ages with or at risk of mental ill health. We act as a bridge between the worlds of research, policy and service provision and believe strongly in the importance of high-quality evidence and analysis. We encourage innovation and advocate for change in policy and practice through focused research, development and training. We work collaboratively with others to promote more positive attitudes in society towards mental health conditions and those who live with them.

Sarah Hughes, 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 to have over 90 councils that 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.”

The Mental Health Foundation is a leading mental health research, policy and service improvement charity working across the UK.

Jenny Edwards, Chief Executive of 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 CBE, 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.”

The National Survivor User Network (NSUN) is a user-led England wide collective of over 4000 individuals and 600 groups. We exist to make sure the voice of lived experience is heard. NSUN is a network of people who experience mental distress who want to change things for the better. We connect people and influence policy, practice and perceptions by amplifying the experiences and aspirations of our members. NSUN recognises and addresses the isolation, discrimination and disadvantage experienced by people who need and use mental health services beyond clinical treatment.

Sarah Yiannoullou, Managing Director of NSUN:

“The Mental Health Challenge is a welcome approach to encouraging and obtaining shared responsibility and accountability for the wellbeing of local constituents. Having local councillors championing mental health will demonstrate their commitment to mental health and to addressing the wider social determinants that contribute to health inequalities and the subsequent distress and disadvantage this can cause. We hope to help Champions to connect with local user-led groups so they can better understand the mental health issues and challenges people are facing – their experiences and expertise must be seen as an asset and should lead the way to finding solutions.”

Rethink Mental Illness is a charity that believes a better life is possible for millions of people affected by mental illness. For over 40 years we have brought people together to support each other. We run services and support groups that change people’s lives and challenge attitudes about mental illness.We directly support almost 60,000 people every year across England to get through crises, to live independently and to realise they are not alone. We also give information and advice to 500,000 more and we change policy for millions.

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.”

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is the professional medical body responsible for supporting psychiatrists throughout their careers, from training through to retirement, and in setting and raising standards of psychiatry in the United Kingdom.The College aims to improve the outcomes of people with mental illness, and the mental health of individuals, their families and communities. In order to achieve this, the College sets standards and promotes excellence in psychiatry; leads, represents and supports psychiatrists; improves the scientific understanding of mental illness; works with and advocates for patients, carers and their organisations. Nationally and internationally, the College has a vital role in representing the expertise of the psychiatric profession to governments and other agencies.

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.”

YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. Driven by their experiences we campaign, research and influence policy and practice. We also provide expert knowledge to professionals, parents and young people through our Parents’ Helpline, online resources, training and development, outreach work and publications.

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.”

Champions say

"Recognising mental health as a preventable ailment is probably the most powerful remedy available to us." Hertfordshire County 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
join our Challenge

Mental Health Challenge

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