With one in four people in the UK suffering with a mental health issue in any given year, councillors at Lewes District Council have unanimously backed a motion that commits the authority to a range of far reaching measures designed to tackle the growing problem.
Councillor Sean MacLeod proposed the motion during a meeting of Full Council and spoke movingly of his own personal experience of dealing with mental health problems, as did other members of the council during the debate.
Councillor Macleod said:
“The World Health Organisation predicts that depression will be the second most common condition worldwide by 2020. In the UK it is the leading cause of work absence and evidence also shows that people with severe mental illness die up to 20 years younger than their peers.
“I have been very open about my own complex mental health issues and having worked previously as a mental health support worker in Lewes, I have a good understanding of the services available. I am delighted therefore that my council colleagues have agreed so unequivocally with me, that mental health should be a priority across all the local authority areas of responsibility.”
In addition to signing the Local Authority Mental Health Challenge, councillors have agreed to appoint an elected member of the council as a ‘mental health champion’, similarly, to also appoint a current member of staff to act as a lead officer for mental health, to support positive mental health in the community, including local schools, and work with partners to offer effective support for people with mental health needs.
Councillor MacLeod said:
“It is heartening that the council already makes mental health awareness training available for staff. There is much more to do and with the steps that are included in this motion I believe we can make a very positive difference, not only within the authority, but in local communities too.”