Hackney ,

New actions to tackle mental health issues

Hackney Councillor Tom Rahilly provides an update on yesterday evening’s Health and Wellbeing Board meeting where a set of five key actions were agreed that will help to prioritise and tackle mental health issues in the borough.

Councillor Tom Rahilly, Mental Health Champion
Major new research from the NHS shows a significant rise in levels of post-traumatic stress disorder amongst young women, it also tells us that people from low income households, and those from Black British backgrounds are least likely to receive the mental health treatment that they need. Given Hackney’s young and diverse population, with many residents who are on a low income, these findings have particular significance for us.

The Council is one of many organisations that fund and deliver mental health services in Hackney, but there is more that we can do. Last year Hackney Council signed-up to be part of the Mental Health Challenge and nominated me to take the lead as our Councillor Champion. 

As Mental Health Champion, I want us to continue to improve the way in which we promote positive mental health, helping the borough deliver its priorities for mental health. I want us to look across the range of services and support that the council, and others, provide in Hackney and ask what more can be done to improve the way the Council tackles mental health issues. I’ll be working closely with Councillors and staff so ensure that mental health is given the priority it deserves. 

Yesterday, Hackney’s Health and Wellbeing Board agreed five key actions that I will support the borough to deliver. The actions are to:

1. Make Hackney a positive place for people with poor mental health - a place where everyone feels welcome, can find work, and be healthy. I’m particularly keen to work with local residents and businesses to test this out and see what needs to change.

2. Provide training for Council staff and Councillors to improve their understanding of mental health when delivering services and talking to residents.

3. Make it easy for people to find mental health services in the borough, improving information about support. This one sounds simple, but is often not done well enough and can make a big difference when done right.

4. Create information packs that contain ideas and advice at critical points in our lives. That might be when moving house, changing school, when someone has passed away, or someone has lost their job; times when many of us could do with some extra support.

5. Work with schools and the NHS to deliver a health and wellbeing education service that builds the resilience of all children and young people in Hackney.

These five actions include some things that are simple and practical, and others that are big and ambitious. A lot of this work will take time to have an impact, but we want to start with a set of challenges that can really make a difference, and that will mean lots more people can contribute to our conversation about mental health in a positive way.

I will be providing formal updates to the borough’s Health and Wellbeing Board about this plan, and will post more blogs here as we make progress with the five actions.

I hope Hackney residents and organisations both in and outside of the borough will join us on this journey. Do drop me a line, if you have any thoughts or ideas.   
Councillor Tom Rahilly, Mental Health Champion