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In this report we present eight spotlights of Thrive LDN’s work and approach from this year which demonstrate how the actions for the future presented in the public mental health review can be delivered in practice.

Throughout 2021/22, Thrive LDN embraced change and enabled an environment of transformation and growth for public mental health in London through collective and sustainable effort for equity, participation, and the wider determinants of health.

Executive Summary

This Impact Report for 2021/22 demonstrates how we have continued to coordinate the public mental health response to the pandemic, diversified our approach, and expanded networks to represent the needs of Londoners, communities, and the health and care system, as well as responding to other emerging challenges. As a citywide movement to ensure all Londoners have an equal opportunity for good mental health and wellbeing, we have led by example and established an infrastructure for progressive change in London.

Five years on from the launch of Thrive LDN, we find ourselves at a significant stage whereby we are growing the evidence base for public mental health through the publication of research and evaluations of large-scale programmes of work such as Youth Mental Health First Aid, Right to Thrive grants scheme, and the Real-Time Surveillance System on suspected suicides in London.
Emerging from the pandemic, we have played a central role in the coordination of regional mental health policy through a review of public mental health in London. Published in November 2021, Towards happier, healthier lives: Ideas and actions for how London can recover and thrive sets out a change model and key actions to improve the mental health and wellbeing of Londoners and London’s communities. It offers a series of actions for the health and social care system to strengthen sustainability and longevity of regional public mental health offers. The review recognises how the coronavirus crisis opened up new forms of relationships, action and alternatives, establishing cross-sector partnership as the baseline for the radical change required to support all Londoners to have happier and healthier lives.

In this report we present eight spotlights of Thrive LDN’s work and approach from this year which demonstrate how the actions for the future presented in the public mental health review can be delivered in practice.

Therefore, this report is not a comprehensive reflection of all activities during the last year but instead illustrates Thrive LDN’s process to shift and transcend the paradigm for mental health and wellbeing through working examples of processes, actions, partnerships, and their outcomes at an individual, community, and system-wide level.

In the past year, Thrive LDN has been an independent and challenging voice to the system, advocating on behalf of those with lived experiences of poor mental health and inequality, whilst also providing a link to trusted relationships with individuals and communities. It is the duality of this strategic approach which has led to Thrive LDN being asked to step up the support available to the scale required by all Londoners and respond to many other challenges that require agile, collective action, such as geopolitical crises in Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Ukraine, the ongoing environmental crisis, and the cost-of-living crisis.

Building on collective achievements over the past five years, we have become a trusted and relied upon source of knowledge and expertise for evidence, engagement, and implementation of activities which improve the mental health and wellbeing of Londoners and London’s communities.

In the coming year, we will continue to scale collaborative engagement for collective impact and continue to expand capabilities to design, deliver and evaluate what works for Londoners, communities and our complex health social care and political system.

Our thanks to all those who have supported Thrive LDN and worked with us this year. We look forward to building on the work described in this report and ideas presented in the public mental health review of London during 2022/23.

Coordinating crisis response and recovery efforts

Recent events in our city have emphasised how important it is to continue to prioritise public mental health and the role of the health, social care and political system in advancing equality. In response to this Thrive LDN has developed and sustained capabilities to establish a resilient infrastructure which anticipates and responds to crises, is adaptive and has the capacity to overcome adversities. Through a coordinated approach to governance, engagement and development, Thrive LDN has established a regional public mental health function underpinned by three interlinked enablers: equity, participation and the wider determinants, which drive outcomes for individuals, communities and systems. The role of Thrive LDN’s research and community insights function is to capture,  synthesise and summarise findings from evidence, research, and insights to give a current view of public mental health in London and anticipate what lies ahead. We prioritise participatory action learning and research to meet Londoners where they are and develop a deeper understanding of our diverse populations’ needs and lived experiences, generating opportunities to share knowledge and integrate feedback loops from communities to the health, social care and political system.

We routinely carry out public mental health scenario planning exercises to synthesise available intelligence, anticipate what might be on the horizon, and plan actions to support partners to step up public mental health responses to crises.

In September 2021, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) commissioned Thrive LDN to undertake a rapid programme of work to help support the mental health needs of Afghan evacuees.

We joined up with various Afghan community groups, health partners, academics and other agencies who work closely with the Afghan community to co-produce a set of translated, culturally competent resources for Afghan evacuees and the wider community already settled in London. This resulted in the development of a ‘Help with your concerns or worries’ booklet.

The finalised version included extracts from Good Thinking’s Five Ways to Good Mental Wellbeing and Islam resources, which helpfully show how wellbeing ideas are  encouraged in Islamic teachings. The booklet also contains further information on assisting Afghan evacuees to access professional support, including signposting to wider community and healthcare services.

More than 7,000 booklets available in English, Dari and Pashto were provided to bridging hotels across London and organisations working with the Afghan community. Additionally, in partnership with the Refugee Council, we produced guidance and resources to assist volunteers and professionals supporting the mental health and wellbeing of the Afghan community. This included a video to help those working with the Afghan community, providing practical methods to support conversations on mental health and wellbeing.

The two-pronged approach was vital to deliver a rapid, practical wrap-around response.

Creating and amplifying campaigns across London

Londoners are seeking and engaging with support for their mental health and wellbeing in different places and in different ways. There also remains a need to balance narratives that promote an overreliance on what individuals can do for themselves with those that acknowledge the structural interventions and reforms needed to enable the conditions for good mental health. Through iterative communications in 2021/22, we are working with partners to make it easier for Londoners to find the support they need.

The pandemic has proved the value of collaborative working in communicating complex public health messages in a rapidly changing environment. As London works towards recovery from the pandemic, public mental health must remain high on the agenda. To support this and building on recent collaboration, Thrive LDN has established a London Public Mental Health (PMH) Communications Group.

During 2021/22, we maintained a regular Thrive LDN public mental health communications toolkit for partners to adapt when communicating to the public about resources and services to support resilience, mental health, and wellbeing. It has become a trusted source of agreed public mental health messaging for London partners, particularly for those in communications and public health roles. The toolkit is shared directly to a distribution list of more than 450 people, as well as being cascaded through relevant networks via London Councils, NHS London region and OHID. The toolkit page on the Thrive LDN website has been accessed more than 2,400 times in the last twelve months.

Thrive LDN has continued to use partnership working with organisations across London to facilitate several shared regional campaigns. Our ongoing #ZeroSuicideLDN campaign has now led to more than 290,000 Londoners taking suicide prevention training since the launch of the campaign in 2019.

In May 2021, Thrive LDN also launched the In Loving Memory of Londoners Lost bereavement awareness campaign, giving Londoners the opportunity to talk about grief and bereavement and reflect upon the scale of loss felt across our city during the pandemic. The campaign reached more than 292,600 Londoners, with more than 12,750 accessing a range of resources. This work helped bereaved people access support that meets their particular needs, when they need it.

In January 2022 we coordinated London’s first Great Mental Health Day. Building on the work started by the London Borough of Haringey, across a 6-week time frame we used our tested campaign development process to help scale activities across the city. Supported by London’s health partners, including OHID, the NHS in London, London Councils, and the Mayor of London, the day aimed to get Londoners talking about mental health, to highlight the great support available, and crucially, take the stigma out of asking for help when needed. 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.

Great Mental Health Day was a huge success and provides a strong platform for us to collectively build upon:

  • Nearly 10,000 people have accessed the interactive map of London on our website to find out what is going on in their area.
  • On the day, there were more than 750 individual tweets using #GreatMentalHealth and more than 20,000 video views on Thrive LDN channels alone.
  • More than 60 events took place across almost every borough in London, many of which were held in person, involving local walks, coffee mornings and workshops.
Supporting Londoners dealing with loss and grief

Many Londoners have experienced sudden and traumatic loss during the pandemic. The scale of loss, and the disruption to people’s mourning, makes bereavement support a crucial part of London’s recovery from the pandemic, and an area of focus for Thrive LDN during 2021/22.
Nothing can ease the loss for somebody grieving a loved one, but through collaborative work we have been supporting a citywide bereavement support programme, launched by the Mayor of London in May 2021 at the opening of the London Blossom Garden.

We have been working to support London’s bereavement sector and to ensure that all those who have experienced loss know that there is support available to them and they are not alone.
London Bereavement Support Programme

In the summer and autumn of 2021, Thrive LDN partnered with Cruse Bereavement Care UK to deliver a total of 10 free, one-hour Bereavement and Loss Awareness webinars. The sessions were designed to boost knowledge and confidence of people who encounter bereaved people in the course of their jobs or voluntary roles. Across the 10 webinars, there were 761 participants. Thrive LDN was appointed as the partner for the Bereavement Services Challenge of the Mayor’s Resilience Fund. The Bereavement Services Challenge supported Apart of Me, a charity dedicated to supporting bereaved children, young people and parents, to co-develop a digital toolkit for young Londoners from minority ethnic backgrounds who have experienced loss.

Apart of Me recruited a group of nine young people aged 16 – 25 from minority ethnic groups who have experienced loss to co-develop Loss in Translation. Across 10 workshops, they used their lived experience and their creativity to help others like them. Loss in Translation was launched online, providing the tools and guidance to turn grief into compassionate action, and is helping to reduce the risk of complicated grief.

The young people have presented their work and participatory approach to numerous London region networks, at the Good Grief Festival in October 2021, as well as being interviewed by both London Live and The Charity Times.

Thrive LDN has supported Good Thinking, London’s digital wellbeing service, to develop culturally competent bereavement support for the six major world religions.

We also funded The Ubele Initiative, a social enterprise led by people from the African diaspora, to facilitate two one-day, in-person immersive bereavement workshops, covering African- Caribbean, and Muslim communities.

The sessions were designed for those who
work with people from minoritised and disadvantaged communities living with grief, bereavement and loss. Each session included an address from an appropriate person from the community to share their knowledge on end of life and grief as it is practiced in that community, as well as other methods of immersive and experiential learning. There were 29 participants across the two workshops who were trained and upskilled in providing interventions that are culturally appropriate.

The workshops are also supporting the programme for A Service of Reflection, taking place on 23 March. The special service is intended to support and uplift the Black communities affected by Covid-19, as well as those who have been bereaved during the pandemic.

Diversifying and scaling wellbeing training for Londoners

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Recovery Mission aims to improve Londoners’ access to support and resources which benefits their own wellbeing and enables them to take a more active role in supporting the wellbeing of those around them. The ultimate goal of the Mental Health Recovery Mission is for London to have a quarter of a million wellbeing champions, supporting Londoners where they live, work and play, by 2025. This mission recognises that trust, inclusive collaboration, and collective activity are the vital ingredients for improving and supporting mental health and wellbeing across the capital.

Activity to support wellbeing is already happening all around us – across and within communities, in workplaces, on high streets and many more places besides. London’s ‘bottom-up’ response to the pandemic has been impressive globally, emerging through force of circumstance. By recognising the existing efforts of individuals in community champion roles, the Recovery Mission will support a network of local leaders to help
forge an alternative vision for a decentralised, representative, and locally accountable infrastructure for mental health and wellbeing.

Radical Self Care Training

In partnership with Mind in City, Hackney & Waltham Forest (CHWF) and Innovation Unit, during 2021/22 we have worked with community
and grassroots projects across London who are supporting people experiencing higher levels of inequality to introduce Radical Self Care or RadSec.

RadSec stands for and works from the principles of intersectionality, lived experience leadership, and trauma-sensitivity. The approach strengthens capacities for present moment awareness, caring and self-compassion, whilst addressing people’s own anxiety and shame-based self-criticism, often internalised from the society and context in which we live.

In November 2021 and January 2022, two introductory sessions were held with 82 participants. Following this, a diverse range of participants have signed up to participate in eight workshops held in February and March 2022 to explore practices of radical self-care and test what it takes to grow cultures of Radical Caring in organisational and community settings. Participants who complete the series will be paired with a RadSec practitioner for support in thinking through ways to embed the principles of Radical Caring within their organisation.

Mind Peer to Peer Support

During 2021/22, we have worked with Mind CHWF to support existing Thrive LDN partners and community groups with training and coaching to set up mental health and wellbeing peer support for their group/community. Beginning in September 2021, Mind CHFW facilitated six training sessions across two separate groups of 20 participants. These were followed by four connect sessions concluding in March 2022.

 

Building coalitions to challenge injustice and scale prevention

Londoners’ opportunity for good mental health and wellbeing is not equal. Right to Thrive is Thrive LDN’s ongoing commitment to celebrate and protect diversity in London, especially for those at higher risk of unfair treatment based on their identity, beliefs, or social class, and in some cases a combination of these. Whilst acknowledging the need to dismantle oppressive power structures, which reinforce systemic inequality, Right to Thrive projects, partnerships and activities aim to amplify voices, develop leadership, and redistribute power to those less heard.

Right to Thrive Grants Scheme
In 2020, we launched the first Right to Thrive grant scheme, awarding more than £170,000 to 22 community and grassroots projects across 15 London boroughs. All projects aim to improve the wellbeing of people from intersectional and marginalised communities in London. The projects ranged from supporting mental health outcomes for refugees, asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants, to providing a safe space for racialised and minoritised women, as well as establishing a community choir, creative activities, community rugby for young black men, and spaces for LGBT Southeast Asians.

Collectively, more than 3,000 Londoners from intersectional backgrounds and marginalised groups took part in activities, sessions, and events to build resilience and support mental health and wellbeing.

Right to Thrive: Kanlungan Filipino Consortium
Mich is young single mum with a one-year-old daughter. She was a victim of verbal, psychological and physical abuse from her former partner, who left her in a cafe in London with only £100 in her pocket at the start of the first lockdown in March 2020. Not knowing where to go, she contacted her friends and stayed with them until she gave birth in May 2020. She was placed in a refuge centre with her baby when the case worker picked her up from the hospital. Because of her adverse life experiences, Mich developed anxiety, lost herself-confidence and felt isolated during the months she was in the refuge centre.

Mich started working with Kanlungan in July 2020, a charity that supports the welfare of Filipinos and Southeast and East Asian migrants in London. From a very quiet woman during the first few sessions, she became confident and is now already volunteering in other Kanlungan activities.

She has also shown compassion to other mums, helping them babysit their children. She said, “no one else would look after us except our fellow migrants” and “no one else would help you in times of difficulty except your friends.” She is happy to have gained new friends and acquaintances. When asked what session she liked best, she said she loves “Positive Parenting” because it helps her learn a few tricks on how to raise her daughter as a single mum.

Right to Thrive: You vs You
You vs You founder and CEO, Ahmed Mohammed reflects upon the Right to Thrive funded programme: “We have been able to successfully support 60+ young asylum seekers and refugee’s across Haringey and Enfield. This was done through local weekly sports sessions as a therapeutic tool for physical and social wellbeing helping to de-stress and create a sense of belonging. Paired with weekly mindfulness sessions focusing on emotional and spiritual wellbeing, to dive deeper and create an open space to talk freely about mental in a safe and welcoming environment.

“Right to Thrive funding allowed You Vs You to build better connections and deliver tailored support to everyone via our mental wellbeing workshops whilst providing them with the tools to keep well. Through the insights collected, 9 out of 10 participants were able to enhance their social and physical wellbeing to a great extent by becoming more active members of the community through various sports. This resulted in reports of feeling more engaged and ready to build bonds in the wider community.”

Ahmed added how important a role grassroots organisations play and what he feels is required to support projects such as You vs You in the longer term: “Health and care partners can support grassroots organisations by continuing to be a listening ear to what’s needed, helping with co-production of services that will greatly benefit communities and provide more training opportunities that will enhance grassroots organisations to better support their beneficiaries. We should ensure that there is a strong youth voice in initial discussions to be able to properly assess their needs.”

Right to Thrive: S.M.I.L.E-ing Boys
Young participant, Shiloh said: “The session was eye opening for me as it made me learn more about myself, feeling confident to feel, understand and share my emotions without suppressing it or feeling ashamed of them anymore. It gave me so much confidence to speak up in public and to figure out how to express my true self, not what everybody thinks I should be as a black boy living in Aylesbury estate. I really enjoyed all the fun games which also indirectly taught us many things about teamwork, trust and vulnerability. Giving me a nice camera was really amazing and made me develop my skills too.”

Shiloh’s mum said: “Shiloh has grown in confidence and leadership over the last months since he has been part of the S.M.I.L.E-ing Boys sessions and it’s incredible to see these changes in such a short period of time. He is more driven and passionate about creative things and giving him the camera has really ignited a creative curiosity in him which opens him up to understanding his position as a black boy in the world.”

Right to Thrive: Core Arts
Volunteer, JM started volunteering just after the first lockdown in June 2020. “Being connected to a community project that is local to me is something very important to me, learning and being connected to a local space. It’s 100% useful and of interest for me for my work and my mental health and wellbeing.”

During her time with Core Arts, she expressed that she learnt new skills, social aspect, feeling valued, improving mood (very much), giving something back (very important), being outside, confidence building, helping with anxiety (my anxiety goes by being outside and being useful), noticing nature more (for sure, things stay in your mind), structure in the week, benefits mental health, getting out (particularly during Covid times to see the world beyond your house), and vocational benefits for future career opportunities.

Right to Thrive: Queen’s Crescent Community Association (QCCA)
Chedlia, 43, is a participant, a volunteer, and a champion at ZenW5. When she’s not working up a sweat with her three children at family fitness sessions, she is encouraging other Arabic-speaking women to get fit and meet people.

Chedlia was told about QCCA by a Somalian friend, who knew we were looking for a volunteer. She was nervous when she first picked up the phone to office manager Abdul and admits the conversation was difficult. “I spoke Arabic all through lockdown and when I called him, I felt my English had gone.” Despite that, her need to do ‘something new’ won, especially because QCCA was ‘a really friendly and helpful place.’ In the past six months, she’s volunteered as a telephone befriender, a member of our outreach team at local asylum-seeker hostels and a fitness session support worker. She’s even gone back to college to complete her teaching assistant qualifications and in October got her first job in an English-speaking workplace for 14 years, at a school for children with autism.

She says that getting involved was her own lifeline after lockdown. “The pandemic left me feeling depressed, isolated and cut off from everyone except her Arabic and French-speaking Algerian community. I wasn’t that confident,” she admits, “but you’ve (QCCA) helped my mood and self-esteem. I’m happier now.”

Right to Thrive Innovation Fund
The Innovation Fund was launched in November 2021 as the next phase of the Right to Thrive initiative. The fund has been designed to support those who typically find it difficult to access or complete grant funding applications: not-for profits, un-constituted (informal) groups and individuals were encouraged to apply for funding to support those at greater risk of poor mental health and wellbeing and higher levels of unfair treatment and discrimination. 14 applicants were supported through the Innovation Fund with projects commencing in January 2022. Grantees will support targeted groups, such as disabled young Londoners in Hackney and people living with HIV in Kings Cross.

 

Supporting the wellbeing of London’s children and young people

It has never been more important to support the wellbeing of London’s children and young people. The foundations for good mental health and wellbeing are built early in life. Whilst Thrive LDN’s public mental health approach covers the entire life span, it is essential to ensure a proportionate commitment to the 2.8 million Londoners under the age of 25. The lives of many young Londoners are complex. Thrive LDN’s Young Londoners programme is designed to build on existing infrastructure for children, young people and families. We embed active participation and co-production with young people into the development and delivery of activities that support the wellbeing of young people.

Youth Mental Health First Aid

Since October 2018, Thrive LDN has been working with Mental Health First Aid England (MHFAE) to deliver free Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) to schools and youth sector organisations across London. This training has upskilled school and youth sector staff who are supporting children and young people between the ages of 8 to 19 years old. It has never been more important to support the wellbeing of London’s children and young people. During 2021/22 we reached our target of training more than 4,000 people in YMHFA across London. There are now 119 YMHFA instructors across London’s  boroughs enabled to deliver training to schools. To support London’s YMHFA instructors, during 2021/22 we established a community of practice sessions and a peer network so they can continue to develop in their roles.

Additionally, this year we launched the start of a series of 11 online, interactive top-up training sessions delivered by the MHFAE associates. The sessions are open for those trained in either youth or adult mental health first aid across London and cover a variety of emerging topics and themes.

During 2021/22, the Youth Mental Health First Aid programme was expanded beyond the classroom, in response to the pandemic to support even more children and young people. The training was offered to adults in youth clubs, community groups and faith groups working with young Londoners.

All of this work aligns with the aims of the London Mental Health and Wellbeing Recovery Mission to support a network of mental health champions through the many teachers, parents and carers we have trained and equipped with the skills to support not only those they work with but their community’s mental health and wellbeing.

Suicide prevention education

As part of an ongoing partnership with PAPYRUS UK, a charity for the prevention of young suicide, we have continued to provide free suicide prevention training to staff in education settings across London to mitigate the risk of children and young people taking their own life when struggling with their mental health.

The training, which encourages greater literacy surrounding the topic of suicide and mental health, and which educates those working in schools and universities on how to spot and address warning signs, is a means of tackling the disproportionate mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on younger age groups.

As a result of the programme, staff in education settings across all 32 London boroughs have been upskilled in suicide prevention. 1,147 people in total have been trained across three types of workshops: a 90-minute session (phase 1), half-day session (phase 2), and the accredited ASIST two-day course (phase 3).

Supporting those impacted by suicide through data-driven system change

In London, more than 11 people take their own life each week. Throughout 2021/22, Thrive LDN has continued to develop and support suicide awareness and prevention programmes. In the context of the extreme challenges of the pandemic, Thrive LDN and suicide prevention partners have recognised that more Londoners will be considered vulnerable to suicide because of their health, where they live, or the impact on their financial situation.

The Suicide Prevention Group
The Thrive LDN Suicide Prevention group is a partnership made up of 39 organisations and 60 individual members, including London’s first responder authorities, NHS bodies, Public Health England, organisations associated with London’s rivers and railways, local authorities, academics, third sector organisations, and those with lived experience. The group works to coordinate suicide prevention efforts across the capital, in addition to flagging trends in data and potential clusters so that informed responses can be assembled, and acts as a valuable knowledge sharing hub.

Real-Time Surveillance System for suspected suicides
First piloted in 2019, the Real-Time Surveillance System (RTSS) on suspected suicides incorporates intelligence provided by several different authorities and organisations across London on individual suspected suicides in the capital. Co-hosted by the Metropolitan Police, the RTSS identified the occurrence of  even suspected suicide clusters and high-risk scenarios across London this year, informing the mobilisation of suicide response and prevention activities, at local, sub-regional and pan-London levels. Continuous monitoring and analysis of the RTSS data has accelerated multi-agency responses, supported the development of London-wide suicide prevention policy, and amplified existing activities.

Additionally, this year we have begun collaborative work and technical development to include information on previous suicide attempts and self-harm by utilising routine hospital data collection. Analysing data on the two main predictors of suicides will enable more efficient future prevention efforts in those  t risk of taking their own life.

Enhanced Suicide Bereavement Support

The RTSS also continued to identify those in need of specialised bereavement support, allowing immediate referrals to mental health support for next of kin who are left grappling with the unexpected loss of a loved one and who are themselves at a heightened risk of taking their own lives in the days and months after a death by suicide. In partnership with the Support After Suicide Partnership and Metropolitan Police, we have developed a catalogue of emotional support and resources to assist those bereaved by suicide.

This support is provided in email format and gives those affected by a loss access to consistent, specialised support in a timely manner in the immediacy following a suicide. In 2021/22, more than 660 people were contacted and offered bereavement support because of referrals from the Real-Time Surveillance System in the days following a death by suicide.

First Hand resource
When considering those who are affected by suicide, witnesses of suicide are often overlooked for dedicated support that caters to the trauma of witnessing such an event first hand. In partnership with the Support After Suicide Partnership and Grassroots in Brighton, Thrive LDN developed First Hand, a specialised resource to support witnesses of suicide, guided by those with lived experience. The resource has reached a total of 2 million people since publication and has been adopted in suicide bereavement services in London for witness referrals. Written materials have been adapted for a web-based platform, encouraging professionals to voice their experiences and provide peer-support.

In January 2022, Thrive LDN co-led a workshop on First Hand at the annual National Suicide Prevention Alliance conference, to demonstrate how lived experience from the public and professionals was central to the development and success of the resource. We have also provided printed copies as part of London Underground’s ‘grab bag’ pilot and for dissemination across London’s prison estate through HM Prison and Probation Service funded Mindsworth Media project which Thrive LDN is a partner in.

Building foundations for mental health in all policies

Place-based partnerships will play a pivotal role in setting the right conditions for good mental health and wellbeing and the integration of services for the local population as well as driving democratic accountability and tackling existing and new inequalities. Enabling local councillors as champions for public mental health, equity, and the wider determinants of health is an essential lever for integrated care, tailoring it to the needs of local communities and improving the outcomes and sustainability of combined services for all.

London councillors’ mental health and wellbeing training

The Covid-19 pandemic put London’s elected councillors, and the communities they serve under incredible pressure. Through the Mental Health and Wellbeing Recovery Mission, Thrive LDN commissioned free training specifically for councillors to support their own mental health and that of their constituents.

Consisting of two 90-minute sessions designed and delivered by Councillor Ed Davie, who has extensive experience in health and  wellbeing, the training provides tips for councillors to support their mental health in addition to advice on how councillors can use local government powers and influence to create a mentally healthier environment for residents.

So far, over 250 councillors across 20 London boroughs have taken the training, including four council leaders or executive mayors, and many cabinet members. Feedback from the training has been overwhelmingly positive with more than 95% of attendees rating it ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ in supporting them in their community roles. Place-based partnerships will play a pivotal role in setting the right conditions for good mental health and wellbeing and the integration of services for the local population as well as driving democratic accountability and tackling existing and new inequalities.

Enabling local councillors as champions for public mental health, equity, and the wider determinants of health is an essential lever for integrated care, tailoring it to the needs of local communities and improving the outcomes and sustainability of combined services for all.

Local Authority Mental Health Champions

In October 2021, a Local Authority Mental Health Champions Network was established to provide a forum for London’s councillors to meet and discuss public mental health needs and issues in their borough and citywide. The creation of the network is a partnership between Thrive LDN, the Centre for Mental Health and London Councils. 40 elected councillors, from across most London boroughs, are part of the network and attend the meetings. The initial meetings of the network have helped to inform elected members about Thrive LDN’s programmes of work, the Mental Health and Wellbeing Recovery Mission, and the sharing of resources available through the Centre for Mental Health. The network will continue after the local elections in May 2022.