Resources for councillors

Supporting mental health during Covid-19: a brief guide for local councillors

The Covid-19 pandemic is a health emergency on a global scale, such as we have never seen in our lifetimes. But it is also having a big impact on our mental health.

Local councils are already stepping up nationwide and leading efforts to respond to the crisis. Local authorities have shown compassion, creativity and commitment to their communities throughout the crisis.

At least half a million more people nationwide are likely to have a mental health problem as a result of Covid-19. This briefing has been created to help local councillors support the mental health needs of their community during the Covid-19 pandemic with helpful points and links.

Leeds Council: Handbook for workers supporting men in Leeds

A handbook for workers supporting men in Leeds; this has been developed with projects funded by the Council’s Public Health Men’s Suicide Prevention Grants Programme, and contains valuable learning around working with individuals experiencing isolation and loneliness.

Leeds Council: Suicide Prevention Guidelines for Frontline Workers and Volunteers

The new Suicide Prevention Guidelines for Frontline Workers and Volunteers has been produced in Leeds to help workers and volunteers feel equipped to support anyone they have concerns about.

Championing mental health in communities: five years on

The Mental Health Challenge for Local Authorities began in 2013 in order to encourage and support councils in England to champion mental health in their communities. In the five years since we have brought together 120 local councils with elected member champions for mental health. This short report summarises what we have learned in that time and our plans for the future.

Survey Results 2019

In December 2018 we surveyed local authority elected member champions and their lead officers in order to find out about the work they are doing, their experiences of the Mental Health Challenge and their aims for the future. A total of 35 people responded to our survey out of the 120 councils that participate in the Challenge. They covered every part of the country, giving a broadly representative sample of the total.

Smoking Briefing

Whilst smoking rates in the general population in England have declined, the rate of smoking amongst individuals with a mental health condition has remained consistently high at approximately 40%. This briefing written by Action on Smoking and Health on behalf of the Mental Health Challenge aims to help Mental Health Champions and their colleagues.

The Mental Health & Wellbeing JSNA toolkit

We have created the joint strategic needs assessment toolkit to help local authorities understand and consider the factors that affect mental health and wellbeing in their communities and to identify some of the key data, information and knowledge that they could use to build a picture of local needs and assets.

Perinatal mental health

More than 1 in 10 women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or within the first year after having a baby. If untreated, these perinatal mental illnesses can have a devastating impact on the women affected and their families. We have summarised the evidence and how local authorities can do to lead the way in this briefing.  

Children & young people’s mental health

About one in ten children experience a mental health difficulty at any one time. And many more are at risk of later mental health problems resulting from their early experiences in life. This briefing summarises the evidence about children’s mental health and how local authorities can lead the way in changing children’s prospects.

Mental and physical health

About a third of people with a long-term physical condition also has a mental health difficulty. And about half of people with mental health problems also have poor physical health. This briefing looks at what can be done to bridge the gap between mental and physical health services to give everyone the support they require for both.

Employment and mental health

Being in work can be good for mental and physical health, but too many people with mental health problems do not get the right help into employment. And some workplaces can undermine people’s mental health. This briefing explores what local councils can do to help.

Preventing Suicides: Facts and Figures

Local Authorities have a key role to play in preventing suicides in their communities by working with local partners. To help Member Champions we have created a suicide prevention briefing with key facts and figures.

Affordable Housing and Mental Health

Too many people with serious mental health conditions live in insecure or unsuitable housing, or have no permanent home at all. As Councillors have a key role in implementing the mental health strategy and improving mental health in their communities, we have created a briefing on housing with five questions to ask their authorities and partners.

The Mental Health Five Year Forward View: A guide for local council members

Following the launch of The Mental Health Five Year Forward View, we have created a summary guide breaking down the key priorities for our Councillors.

 Councillors’ guide to mental health

This booklet provides practical tips and advice on how to support constituents and where to signpost them.

No Health without Mental Health

Ten questions for your council

This briefing provides councillors and health champions with ten questions to ask their public health teams. It aims to help local authorities promote the wellbeing of their population and improve the recovery of people with mental health problems by providing information about the size, impact and cost of the unmet need to treat mental health problems, to prevent them from arising and to promote wellbeing.

Champions say

"Mental Health affects us all at some time in our lives. It is essential we act together to prevent Mental Illness." Torbay 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