Letter: Ask your ward councillor to become a ‘member champion’ for local mental health

Date published: 21 September 2017

Dear Editor,

The mental health challenge for local authorities is an initiative led jointly by Centre for Mental Health, the Mental Health Foundation, the Mental Health Providers Forum, Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and YoungMinds.

The aim of the challenge is to encourage and support local leadership for mental health and wellbeing through local authority elected members. The challenge asks councils to appoint a ‘member champion’ for mental health. In return, the national charities offer champions and their councils advice, information and a network of peers in similar roles.

The mental health challenge is already showing that local authority member champions have the potential to raise the profile of mental health and wellbeing in local communities, to enable councils to integrate mental health into the full range of their policies and responsibilities, and to link up with other local leaders to foster partnerships and encourage action to promote mental health and life chances.

The challenge was launched in September 2013 and so far over 35 councils have taken the challenge and appointed member champions for mental health. Councillors across the country have signed up as Mental Health Champions. It would be great to see a Rochdale Councillor sign up as a Mental Health Campion, especially since as we all know Rochdale is a 'hotspot' of schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses, based on the number of prescriptions prescribed by GPs.

As exclusively covered by Rochdale Online back in February of this year latest analysis by the University of East London showed between October 2015 and September 2016 the average number of schizophrenia prescriptions in Rochdale was 34 per 1,000 people, the third highest in the country.

For more information about the challenge please visit the Mental Health Challenge at their web site where concerned readers of Rochdale Online can write to their own ward councillors asking them to sign up as a ' member champion' for mental health at:

Thank you.


Andrew Wastling

The views expressed are those of the author of the letter and not those of Rochdale Online.

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