LGA responds to PM's mental health announcement

LGA press release 9 January 2017

Responding to the announcement by the Prime Minister on mental health, Chairman of the Local Government Association's Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, said:

"The mental wellbeing of our local communities is fundamental to a healthy and prosperous society, and we are pleased the Prime Minister has recognised the importance of this issue.

"Councils are absolutely committed to improving people's mental health and helping those experiencing mental illness to recover and lead fulfilling lives.

"Councils have a significant role to play, and provide many of the services that keep people mentally well, such as adult social care. This can involve helping people who are experiencing a mental health condition move out of hospitals by providing them a home and care. This is why it is absolutely vital that social care is properly funded so we can tackle mental illness.

"Councils also help people get active, stop smoking and cut down on drinking; and they provide services that help people recover, get back into work and that help their families and carers during difficult times.

"But we need a root and branch overhaul of mental health services that focuses on prevention and early intervention, not just what happens to people in hospitals once they are unwell.

"Prioritising the mental wellbeing of our children is fundamental to this, and ensuring children get access to the right treatment at an early stage is crucial. Staff must be fully trained to ensure specialist support is provided. Teaching staff know their children best and are ideally placed to talk about the importance of mental wellbeing in schools and spot changes in behaviour if a child is becoming unwell.

"Community based services can help keep children out of hospital and it is vital that specialist referral systems are also adequately funded to allow intensive counselling to children who need it.

"Unless we all raise awareness around the need to overcome the stigma associated with mental health issues, provide parents with information on how to discuss mental health with their children, then vulnerable youngsters may remain under the radar, causing lifelong damage and preventing them reaching their true potential."

9 January 2017

David Mills
Senior Media Relations Officer
Local Government Association
Phone: 020 7664 3200
Email: david.mills@local.gov.uk