My Account

Support for the South London Mental Ill-Health Prevention and Recovery Programme

Date: 6 July 2021
Author: Cllr Piers Allen
Title: Chair of the Adult Social Services, Health and Housing Services Committee and Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board

I recently represented Richmond Council at a summit hosted by the South London Mental Ill-Health Prevention and Recovery Programme.

The programme was formed in summer 2020 in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and wellbeing. It brings together three South London Mental Health Trusts with local authorities and other partners.

Earlier this month, the programme held a summit where local authorities were asked to make pledges to address four key areas that need to be urgently tackled as identified by a survey commissioned by the programme:

  • Social isolation
  • Work and wages
  • Young people and parents
  • Access to services

Richmond Council is supportive of the programme and has agreed to the programme's pledges asked of Local Authorities. These include:

To help resource a mental health champions programme

Mental Health Champions receive special training to help those suffering from mental ill health and emotional distress. There are a range of courses covering mental health of children, young people and adults. It could be as simple as taking the time to listen to someone who is stressed or anxious and passing on techniques to help them manage their feelings, to directing those with more serious problems to where they can get professional help. Each year Mental Health First Aid Training Programme (MHFA) training is available for those working and living in Richmond upon Thames. Over the next year Public Health are commissioning courses specifically for individuals working in the Voluntary Sector. Check the council website for details from 21 September.

The Mental Health in Schools Programme continues to gather pace. The ambition is to ensure all schools in Richmond are able to support the improved emotional health and wellbeing of their pupils through a wide range of education and support programmes. Richmond currently has Mental Health Support Teams supporting 70% of secondary schools and 50% of primary schools.

To develop a social isolation and digital inclusion strategy

The Adult Social Care team in Richmond Council is developing a Transforming the Future Programme which includes a social isolation and digital inclusion section. Currently Richmond Council works with voluntary and community organisations to provide specialist befriending to support residents who might be struggling with social isolation. The Council also has several measures in place to support unpaid carers who often suffer with social isolation.

Additionally, we are establishing virtual mental health pods in community settings so that more people can access talking therapies and we support adults with accessing digital solutions to help reduce social isolation, for example providing Alcove Carephones to housebound residents so that they can easily make video calls with family and friends.

Commit to the Living Wage

Richmond Council is an accredited Living Wage employer.

Help resource parent led groups to improve parental mental health

Richmond Council is looking into options for this.

Support the Safer Surgeries initiative

This is a GP led initiative that Richmond Council supports.

Support the South London Listens Programme financially

All the pledges that Richmond Council is supporting have financial commitments attached to them, so we are supporting where appropriate.

We are striving to make our commitment to mental health on a par with our commitment to good physical health. I have been very struck by the South London Mental Ill-Health Prevention and Recovery programme and the chance it has provided to make our residents' voice loud and clear in setting our health and care priorities, particularly as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and set about transformational change both in Richmond upon Thames and across South and South West London.

If you have any questions or suggestions for how we can further support mental health in the borough, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

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Updated: 19 October 2021