London’s public mental health partnership, Thrive LDN, today marks its fifth anniversary.

Since launching on 4 July 2017, more than 1.3 million people have participated in events and activities to improve mental health and tackle inequalities as part of the Thrive LDN partnership.

The participatory approach to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of Londoners has demonstrably had a positive impact, say Thrive LDN leadership.

Two million Londoners experience some form of poor mental health every year. Suicide is the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 34 and every week around 12 Londoners take their own lives. There are many communities in London who are at higher risk of unfair treatment based on their identity, beliefs, or social class, and in some cases a combination of these.

These shocking and sad statistics were the reason the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the London Health Board partners launched Thrive LDN, to work alongside Londoners to improve awareness and encourage more action around mental health and health inequalities.

Commenting on Thrive LDN reaching five years, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “When we launched Thrive LDN in 2017, no one could have foreseen the scale of the strains and pressures Londoners would have to face in the coming years. The pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis have had an unprecedented impact on the mental health and wellbeing of people across the capital. I want to pay tribute to Thrive LDN for the vital support they continue to provide to so many Londoners as we recover from the pandemic and work to build a better London for everyone – a happier, healthier and fairer city for all.”

Since Thrive LDN launched, the movement has grown and spread across the city. The Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) programme has trained more than 100 new Youth MHFA Instructors and delivered Youth MHFA training to more than 4,000 education and youth sector staff citywide. Schools and colleges are working with Thrive LDN to play a role in the prevention of poor mental health and promotion of wellbeing for this and future generations.

The Thrive LDN Suicide Prevention Group is made up of 36 organisations and 48 members who are undertaking several citywide projects. This includes the development of Thrive LDN’s Suicide Prevention Information Sharing Hub which allows vital information to be securely shared to enable effective bereavement support and helps increase understanding and knowledge for agencies involved when a person takes their own life.

The Right to Thrive initiative has created a broad range of partnerships and grant funded nearly £300,000 to 36 grassroot projects which collectively aim to support those communities and groups most likely to experience poor mental health to amplify their voices, share power and leadership, and address some of the health equity issues they are facing.

The citywide #ZeroSuicideLDN campaign has seen more than 300,000 Londoners take the Zero Suicide Alliance’s free, online suicide prevention training to break the stigma of talking about suicide, suicidal thoughts and suicide bereavement. The campaign continues to be supported by the London FA, Metropolitan and British Transport Police, the NHS, all London Councils, London Fire Brigade and many more.

Earlier this year, on Friday 28 January, London hosted the first ever Great Mental Health Day across the region. The day saw Londoners and community groups sharing ideas and ways in which they are supporting their own wellbeing or others in their community or neighbourhoods. Close to 10,000 people accessed the interactive map of London on Thrive LDN’s website to find out what is going on in their area. Thrive LDN will facilitate the next Great Mental Health Day on behalf of regional partners in January 2023.

Councillor Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Leader of Islington Borough Council, was recently appointed as Thrive LDN Co-Lead, succeeding Mayor Philip Glanville. Cllr Comer-Schwartz said: “Thrive LDN is one of the capital’s flagship health initiatives. As we mark five years, thank you to everyone who has been part of this movement so far.

“I’m excited to join the Thrive LDN leadership team at this crucial stage when the public mental health agenda has never been more important. I’m conscious of the task ahead of us, we are only at the beginning of this journey. 

“There is substantial evidence that the coronavirus pandemic has simultaneously widened pre-existing inequalities whilst creating new ones, such as problem debt, rising unemployment or structural inequalities. We can’t overlook the many other huge challenges and pressures on Londoners which makes this even more important.

“By working together and supporting each other, I’m confident we can build a city where every Londoner feels supported to thrive.”

Commenting on the fifth anniversary, Thrive LDN director, Dan Barrett, who supported the launch of the partnership in July 2017 said: “In 2017, things began with a series of open discussions with Londoners – to encourage everyone to think, talk and act more when it comes to mental wellbeing. Five years on from these initial community conversations, there has been real progress, demonstrating that we can achieve great things when we work together. Of course, there is still much more for us to learn and do but we believe our foundations and purpose are stronger than ever.

“Thrive LDN exists to drive and facilitate change. As we emerge from the coronavirus crisis, we must continue to put people and communities in the lead, allowing us to develop meaningful and trusted relationships at a London, multi-borough and community level. Doing so will allow us to support the wellbeing and resilience of all Londoners who need help and support now and beyond the pandemic.

“We look forward to continuing to work with partners inside and outside of health and care systems to find new ways of reaching, involving, and supporting Londoners to improve mental health and prevent a decline in wellbeing.”

Thrive LDN is one of many initiatives to improve mental health across the globe. Cities such as New York, Toronto, Edinburgh, Barcelona and many more have been leading new ways of improving the wellbeing of citizens and to tackle the inequalities and challenges that can lead to poor mental health.

Read more from Dan Barrett in a new Thrive LDN blog.

Explore Thrive LDN’s activities and events at www.thiveldn.co.uk.