A transcript from the webinar
Moderator: Hi, and welcome to this Local Government Association webinar on mentally healthier conditions for councillors and communities. This is a two part webinar, each one will be about half an hour long, and this is part one of two. And in this session, we'll be looking at mentally healthier conditions for councillors. If you just note the date at the bottom there, we are still in what I consider the third lockdown, to do with the pandemic. So some of the references around the pandemic may, I hope, be a bit out of date, but obviously you can adjust to that. I hope the things that we'll be talking today are relevant to you, regardless of which sort of council that you're in. And which sort of area. But obviously, it will differ a little bit if you're in a unitary, or a district council, or in an urban or rural environment. But hopefully there's something for everyone in this training. The second part is about mentally healthier conditions for communities, but we'll get onto that later. And the kind of concept behind the training is that human beings, us, we evolved as hunter gatherers over about two million years. With all of that entails, sort of, summed up in the picture on the left. But we now live in a world that's kind of summed up on the picture on the right. A famous parish council meeting you may have seen, where we are in a very kind of different environment from which we evolved. So it's some techniques for managing that disjunction between how we evolved, and how we lived.
So me, I'm councillor Ed Davie, I am a recovering alcoholic, and depressive. But I've benefited from anti-depressant medication, cognitive behaviour therapy, alcoholics anonymous. And the reason why I mention that is just so that people know that there is support. And people should get help if you need it. This training is not about mental illness, or these kind of conditions, but it's worth making that point, that there shouldn't be a stigma about it, and you can recover and get better, but do get support if you need it. I've a Lambeth councillor since about 2010, well, exactly 2010. I swapped alcoholic anonymous meetings, for councillor ones. I am, I was an LGIU award winning scrutiny chair for seven years. I like to say I'm the raining champion, because they scratched the award after I got it, so no one else can can win it after me. I've been a cabinet member for three years. (audio disconnected 02:38 - 02:42) I've worked for health charities, including the British Medical Association, and the Mental Health Foundation, for over a decade. And last year I graduate from King's, with a public health masters. And I've also studied social determinants of health with Professor Sir Michael Marmot at UCL. And the things that I'm presenting in this webinar, and the second part, are kind of based upon research, not my political views. So, as I say, this is part one of a two part webinar. And in this session we will cover, the context of mental health for councillors. We'll look at evolutionary, and physiological, so that's how our body works obviously, approaches to creating the kind of optimal conditions for our own mental health. We'll also look at social media, and real world relationship management. But as I say, we won't really be talking about mental health conditions or illnesses, although most advice in this webinar, like exercising regularly for example, applies whether you enjoy good mental health, or have a diagnosis of most kinds. And so therefore, it should be relevant to everyone. Although obviously, if you have a diagnosis, there may be other things that you need to do as directed by your doctor. And as I say, in part two, we'll be looking at using local government tools, and some of the things we've learned in part one, to improve community mental health, using the principles we're looking at today.
So, during this session, please try to write down at least three things you're going to try and improve on. And be as specific as you can. We know from the research literature, that when people make specific plans, they're more likely to stick to them. And I want this to be really useful, and create action, rather than just be a passive experience. So one example could be you could invent a commute, if you're currently working at home, or that's your normal practice and you don't actually commute. You could invent one, by going to the local coffee shop for example, and maybe going to the park after you finish work in the evening to get some activity into your day. You could make a commitment to turn of all your electronic devices, at say 7pm. And you could make a plan to call your mother, or your best friend, or both, or somebody else, at specific times, to stay in touch with people. Try to diarise whatever actions that you choose. It's useful to record completion. Tick off a list, that's good for our mental health as well. Get a little dopamine hit when you tick off something from your to-do list. And try and complete any task, at least fifteen times. The literature seems to suggest that this helps us to create new neural pathways, sort of like a sheep track in your brain, that makes it more likely that you'll keep up a good habit.
So a bit more context, the World Health Organisation says there are three main factors behind health and illness, including mental health. And then social determinants, so that's things like poverty and discrimination. Secondly environment, like access to housing and green space. And thirdly individual factors, like genetics, behaviours, and psychology. And in this part of the training, we'll be looking mostly at the third one, around individual factors. But in the second part, the community part, we'll be looking more at social determinants, and environment. So as I'm sure you're more than aware, being a councillor can be stressful, at the best of times. You've got to balance work, family, and council commitments. You may have demanding constituents. Humans aren't great with uncertainty, and yet as politicians, we have the uncertainty of elections, and other situations. For the last eleven years, we've had to manage quite severe cuts. We have to manage our political relationships. We may have traumatic case work. And these have not been the best of times, because of the pandemic, that we've had increased isolation. Often back to back online meetings. Some of us have had home schooling, and other pressures. And some of us have been bereaved, or had illness in our families and communities. So it's been a really challenging period to be a councillor, but it is at the best of times.
So, I'm really interested in happiness. As I sort of mentioned at the beginning, it sounds like-, well, I had a period of unhappiness, so I'm really interested in how to be happier. So I read all these books on happiness science. So you don't have to, because I'm going to summarise some of what I've learnt. But you should, because reading and learning, is really good for our mental health. Reduces stress and depression. It strengthens brain function. And it boosts empathy. It's unclear is council papers count, I'm not sure they reduce stress and depression, but anyway, they're something we have to do as part of the job, as you know. So, to take an evolutionary approach, as I mentioned at the beginning, human beings have evolved over about two million years. And mostly as hunter gatherers. And this green line is about food production, but it could apply to a lot of different things. And you can see how long the green line is, before you get to the development of agriculture, say 9000 years ago, when people stop living in hunter gatherers bands so much, and started settling. And then later on, you've got industrialisation, and then much more recently, you've had the kind of information technology age. Which has changed how we live even more dramatically. And that's had a lot of impacts on human beings obviously, and for a lot of our history, as I say, we've lived in small hunter gatherer bands, with 100 or so individuals with no state structures, including local government. Didn't exist for most of the period we've evolved. So there wasn't any single kind of individual, or elite, that could exercise permanent control over human beings. Which has changed the way that we live really dramatically, in the sense of control. And having control over your own life is a really important determinant of good mental health.
So, our physiological processes, that's how our bodies works. And you psychological processes, that's how we think. They evolved to be free, or more or less free, from external control. To be physically active, hunting and gathering a lot of the time. Rewarded with dopamine, that's a hormone that makes you feel good, for eating sugar and fat. Because as you know, as you can imagine, when you were evolving as a hunter gatherer to find some honey or berries, or a source of fat, was a really good thing, because it was difficult to always sustain food. We were stimulated with flight or fight hormones when at risk. And we were always in close proximity to one another. (audio disconnected 09:46 - 09:51) Contrast to that, we've created an environment for ourselves that controls a lot of our time and activity. It minimises physical activity. It surrounds us with fatty and sugary food. Triggers fight or flight hormones through kind of, stressful situations. And physically distances us from others, and the natural world. And particularly, in lockdown situations, as we've had recently, those are all heightened even more than in normal times. So given that disjunction between the conditions in which we evolved to operate optimally, and how we live in the modern world often, it's kind of little wonder that we have a mental health crisis that costs thousands of lives, just in this country alone. And it's estimated to be approximately £105 billion a year, in England alone, in lost productivity, service costs, and human misery. Accompanying that, we also have a kind of inactivity and obesity crisis, and about two thirds of U.K adults, and a third of children, are overweight or obese. And an alcohol crisis, with about one in four adults drinking harmfully. And these all connect with each other and influence each other. And we also have an environmental crisis, with air pollution killing about 60,000 in the U.K a year. We have climate change, we have habitat loss, and all of this contributes to an environment that isn't conducive to healthy lives for humans, or other life.
So, my contention, and those of more eminent people than myself, is try to sort of replicate the conditions in which we evolved as much as we can in our daily lives. So exercise, as I said, hunter gatherers spent a lot of time running and walking to find water, and food, and shelter, and all the rest of it. And exercise is absolutely amazing. I'm reading a book at the moment called the miracle pill, that suggests you know, that exercise is so beneficial if you could put it in a pill, it would be the most successful medicine ever. And that's because it releases positive hormones, like endorphins and serotonin, which we'll learn a bit more about later. It gets you out of the house, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness. It's shown to reduce stress, depression, and anxiety. And it improves sleep. I don't talk much about sleep in this, but it's obviously really important. And there's a link to the sleep foundation, with some tips on how to improve sleep, if that's an issue for you. And ideally you exercise in green space, because studies show that green spaces can have a really protective effect on our mental well-being. And we're quicker to recover from stress and less likely to experience depression. But I know that exercise in the kind of formal sense of running in the forest, or going to the gym, or doing sports, isn't for everybody. For a whole variety of reasons. And although those things are great, and really fab if you can do them, what's more realistic for most people is just to build physical motion more into everyday life. So, as mentioned earlier on, you can invent a commute, by walking around the block, go to the coffee shop, go to a park, before you settle down to work. Whether that's in an office, or at home for a lot of us, over the last year. Buy, or improvise, a standing desk. This one on the left is very similar to one my sister in law created for herself, our of an ironing board, but you can buy fancier ones. But just standing, rather than sitting can increase our activity levels to a better rate. Try to schedule in ten minute breaks when you're having electronic meetings on Zoom, or Teams, or whatever. Often these are a whole hour long, or 20, or 30 minutes long, and then they go back to back into another one. If you try to make them 50 minutes, or 25 minutes, you can factor in small breaks to get up and move around. I've been having a few walking meetings recently during lockdown, with one other person. So, you know, you're allowed to exercise with one other person. Just walking round and round the park, or in my case, the local cemetery is the nearest green space, and I've found that a really great way to connect with other people, and get some exercise in. If you drink lots of water, hydrations important for health. And also you have to stand up and walk to get the water, and get rid of the water, if you see what I mean. So that naturally builds in some movement. And local shopping on foot, or bike, doing little shops, rather than one big car shop. Is good for the local economy, and also good for your activity levels. I've found cycling around my ward a really good way to sort of stay in touch with what's going on in the ward. In a safe, social distanced way, and get some exercise. Gardening and housework count as exercise and movement, obviously. Take the stairs, rather than lifts, or escalators, in public buildings, when you go into them. And if you do get on the bus, or use public transport, try and get off maybe one or two stops earlier, and have a little walk. And there are apps that you can get on your phone, like couch to 5k. I know quite a few people who have used that really successfully, that gradually build up levels of exercise, and keep you motivated. And the literature, the research, shows that self monitoring is really helpful to develop good habits. So step counters in your phone, or you can buy watches, or wristbands, or whatever, that count your steps, and your heart rate, things like that, can help you to have a new regime.
So the, the second part, is living in a forest. Obviously, not literally. For most of us, it's not possible. But green space, getting in the garden, going to parks, going to the countryside as much as possible. Even house plants count. And the royal horticultural society has brought the evidence together about house plants. They improve mood, reduce stress levels, increase productivity, reduce blood pressure, reduce fatigue, even decrease pain. They've done studies with hospital patients recovering from operations, and the ones surrounded by plants, believe it or not, report less pain that those without plants. So house plants are really great. They also change a lot, and human beings like novelty and change. And plants, obviously flower, and bits grow, and you nurture them. It's all good.
Connecting with your tribes, like your ancestors. So, you know, try and keep in contact with loved ones. At times of stress, we work better in company, and with support. Try to keep in touch with your family and friends. Those, in the jargon, are called strong ties, family and friends. But weak ties are also important. And weak ties are kind of people in our communities. Maybe our neighbours, or people who work in our local shops. Or you know, people-, other parents at the school that our children go to, for example. So talking to them, and interacting with them is really important for a sense of community, and for our own well-being. And that's been really tricky over the last year, for obvious reasons. But it's something we need to try to do. And living in the moment. So, obviously our ancestors didn't probably have five year career plans, they just lived in the moment much more. This can sometimes be called mindfulness. So that's where you try not to worry about all the things that you're worrying about, and be present in the moment. I pick up this stone that I've pictured, that I got on a beach in Sardinia. And I feel it's weight, and the temperature, it's usually colder than the rest of the room. The texture of it. And that kind of helps sort of ground me in the moment, rather than worrying about stuff. And mindfulness as it's called, and you can read more about mindfulness, reduces depression, or can do, anxiety, and stress. And the other thing about my rock, is that it reminds me of a great experience, a holiday, on a nice beach. And the literature says that, if you have spare money, you should spend it on experiences, not possessions. Experiences are the things that are more likely to make us much happier than possessions.
So that was the evolutionary approach, and connected to that is the physiological approach. Which simply means how our bodies work, and how we look after and regulate our bodies through chemical messages known as hormones, that move around our endocrine system. Which sounds all very technical, but we don't have to worry about that. It's actually quite straightforward and simple. Don't worry, you don't have to learn that diagram on the left. So here are a few positive hormones that we can stimulate naturally. So oxytocin is a kind of bonding hormone, that's produced when we feel safe, connected, and close to people, or even animals. That's why we have pets, or some of us have pets. We get a nice feeling from the oxytocin. So, we can stimulate this naturally, by hugging, holding hands with loved ones, being affectionate with friends or family, giving compliments to each other, preparing and sharing food with loved ones, listening to music, singing and dancing together, petting pets. All good for oxytocin. Second one, serotonin, you may have heard of as a happiness hormone. So a lot of anti-depressant medication works by enabling our brains to take in more serotonin, and this has been shown to be beneficial for depression, and making us happier. And we can-, we don't necessarily need anti-depressants to stimulate this. Although, some people do need it. And as I say, I've benefited from it myself, and there's no shame in it. But we also get it from sunshine. Which is also good for vitamin D, which helps keep us well. Aerobic exercise, and aerobic exercise obviously means exercise that raises your heart rate. So walking fast, or running, or cycling reasonably fast, releases something called tryptophan, which I have learnt, is an amino acid which your body can then convert into serotonin. And this is particularly happens, creating tryptophan, that is when we exercise in green space. We can also get tryptophan from certain sorts of foods, especially proteins. Like oily fish, or poultry, or cheese, or eggs, and I was reading that our bodies are more efficient at using the tryptophan to turn it into serotonin, if you have it with carbohydrates. So, you know, potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, which is a fairly simple way of getting happiness. Meditation. This is one I've never managed to do, but some people say that it's amazing, so that could be something that you could try. And there are various tips on the internet, and in books. Dopamine, is a reward chemical, and it's triggered by things like praise, positive outcomes, winning, and eating nice food. So, you can get it from eating your favourite treat, obviously in responsible and balanced quantities. Celebrating the little wins in daily life. Engaging in self care. Having a nice shower. Having nice beauty products. Listening to feel good music. Finishing a task or project you started. Lists are really good, I'm a big fan of having a list of tasks to do, and then ticking it off and that gives you a little dopamine hit when you've finished one. Endorphin is a naturally pain killer. You get it from exercising. Exercise comes up a lot, as you may have noticed. Laughing, especially with others. So comedy is a fantastic natural medicine. Eating dark chocolate and spicy food. So this is a nice indulgent one. Obviously, eat responsibly. But, dark chocolate in particular, is found to release endorphin, and spicy food. Being artistic. Sex. So, this is a great page. Much more fun than some other pages that you may have seen. Sex, dark chocolate, curry, all good for. Endorphin.
So now we're going to move on to a bit about some specific advice around managing social media. To carry on my evolutionary theme, obviously our hunter gatherers ancestors didn't have social media. The nearest I could find was this picture of native Americans making smoke signals. And it was one of the other things of the modern world, that our ancestors didn't have to contend with. But we do have to, or rather, you don't have to. You don't have to be on social media. My wife refuses to use it, probably wisely. It's not compulsory. But if you do, there are some ways of managing it. So first of all, I think it's useful to think about why it is that you might be using social media. And I always like this three word formulation. Objective, strategy, tactics. So I used to work in public affairs, lobbying for health charities. And people often want to do activities, meet MP's, and write to people, and get messages in the press. But I'd always say, well what is your objective first. Lets find out, think about, what is it we're trying to achieve, before we decide to use these tools, including social media. So what is your objective? Give it a little bit of thought. It might be, I expect we all have this in common, to be an effective ward councillor. To help vulnerable people across your borough. Maybe to gain promotion and influence in your council, or borough. Maybe you want to become an MP. Maybe all of these. And thinking about that should steer what social media you use, and how you use it.
So to be an effective ward councillor, the most effective social media you can use, that the literature shows us, is the best way to win votes and engage your residents, and deliver for them, is door knocking. So obviously, that's been tricky over the last year. But when it's allowed, knocking on peoples doors and actually talking to them in the real world, is the best way to engage with people. Similarly real world community events, and meetings, when they're allowed to happen, are a great way of talking to people. Listening to their views, responding to their-, winning their support. Leafletting. Old fashion leafletting. Not terribly environmentally friendly, but found to be the third most effective way of connecting with residents, and constituents, and the electorate. There are social media platforms, like NextDoor, that can be quite good for engaging local people. Some local areas have Facebook groups, you may want to connect with. And some have WhatsApp groups as well. If you're interested in the wider world, you want a slightly higher profile, you want to follow other people, and have them follow you, Twitter is an amazing place for that, a social media platform. Not without its perils, but you know, you get some really interesting story and-, stories, and connections through twitter, if managed well. And I don't use any of these, but my children do. So for younger people, and to connect with them, they use Instagram, they use TikTok. I have appeared in some of my daughters TikTok videos, inadvertently or she gets me to dance or some stupidness. But there's also Snapchat, and they seem to watch a lot of YouTube.
So here's some sort of electronic hygiene tips. First of all it's important to know that tech firms behind these social media platforms, they spend huge sums of money understanding and manipulating the sorts of behavioural processes we've been discussing. So they know about all the hormones we've talked about. And they drip feed us dopamine hits in particular. So if you watch my son play Fortnite, whenever he gets a kill, this is a game where you shoot people, you know, he gets a little buzz out of it, he gets a little dopamine hit. It keeps him coming back for more, and keep playing the game, and spending money on V-Bucks. And then, or me on Twitter, getting likes and retweets for things, it drip feeds me dopamine, and keeps you coming back. So you should be aware that you are being manipulated. And somebody said, you know, when a product is free, like a lot of these games or social media platforms are, you are the product. So they are selling advertising space, they are trying to get you to buy stuff. There's no such thing as a free lunch, especially on the internet.
There's also algorithms. So the way these systems are set up, is that they understand, and they can analyse the things that you like and look at. And then they'll send you more messages that are similar. And it can actually be a kind of radicalising process. Because you might start looking at something, like I dunno, stories about immigrants coming into the country. And then it'll send you more and more kind of, extreme messages potentially, around immigration, or Islam, or the environment, it could be anything. It's just something to be aware of that can happen to you, or those around you. You can turn off notifications, so if your phone is pinging all the time, and telling you stuff, you know, you can turn things off. You can set do not disturb modes after certain hours. And you can change Twitter settings. Going back to the algorithm point, you can actually change the Twitter settings, so that you just get the newest messages, rather than necessarily the most inflammatory stuff. You can't do that on Facebook, unfortunately. But you can do it on Twitter, to sort of, subvert the algorithm. You can also set privacy limits on Facebook and other platforms, so you can limit who can see or interact with you on social media.
Here are some more tips. I don't always manage these myself, but I try to so hard. I try not to get into rows, or respond to criticism on Twitter. I used to lose entire weekends having rows with people. I'm not sure it won me a single vote, or did me any good. It certainly made me not popular with my family, because I wouldn't be present, and it was a great source of anxiety for me, 'Oh what are they going to say now?'. So I do my best to ignore that, it doesn't do any good. And usually the people having a go at you, or sniping, have very few followers. Sometimes they're even robots. And you're just drawing attention to them if you interact with them, because you've probably got more followers than them. Try to spread useful positive messages about what you, or your council, or whatever, is doing, rather than attacking others. Obviously there is a place in politics for attacking the policies of your opponents, or bad things that are happening in the world. But generally speaking, try to be positive is more useful I think, and better for our mental health. Feel free to-, most platforms have a mute or, and or a block function. Where people who are annoying you, or being offensive, or threatening you, or being rude in any way, can be muted or blocked. It's your channel, you don't have to be available to trolls. You wouldn't put up with it in the pub, you'd move away, or walk away, or go somewhere else. And there's no reason why you should. This is a public space, even if it's online. And I mute and block lots of people. And that's fine. And try and keep things in proportion. Some things can seem really really noisy on social media, and actually they're not that important to people in the real world. So you may have heard of the story of Kensington in Chelsea council, for example, putting in a cycle lane on Kensington high street. There was quite a lot of noise about it on social media, and then they took it out. The whole thing's cost about a million pounds, it's been quite damaging from a PR point of view for the council. And someone did an analysis of the criticism on Twitter, and found that it was from less than 100 Twitter handles. And a lot of them were duplicates accounts. So one person with many accounts, or robots. And actually, when they've done an independent survey of local residents in the area, more than half supported the cycle lane, and it was a very small proportion that were against them. So just try to keep what you hear in social media, in proportion from what actually people might thinking the real world. It's really important to have digital detox time. Everyday try and have a break. Like I say, try and shut it off at a certain point in the evening, or in the day. Especially if you're trying to interact with your family. On holidays, I try not to use my phone at all, except to take nice pictures. And yes, like I say, it's really important to be present, and not looking at your phone all the time, with family and friends. And you can set time limits on devices.
So just moving on to relationships with colleagues and constituents. We started with a picture of Handforth parish council, and their quite difficult, and famous now, Zoom meeting. And Jackie Weaver has become quite a cult figure in local government, who'd have thought it. And if you saw that footage you'd have seen her being really firm, and professional, but also really polite. So I try to be like Jackie Weaver, if I can, in difficult situations. Similarly I try to be more like Kamala Harris, who I think is firm, but professional and polite. And less so, the previous incumbent of the white house, who I don't think is a great role model for how politicians should act. You may have a different opinion, which is fine. I was a very angry back bencher, I think, in my first term in particular. And one of my fellow councillors, who's been a councillor for a long time, and he always deals with things really calmly, so I still say to myself if I get wound up, you know, how would councillor Jim Dixon deal with this situation. And I try to act in that way. So maybe there's someone in your council, if you're a bit prone to getting wound up, that you admire for being calmer, and try to think of how they would act in a situation, if that's an issue for you, like it was for me. And I try, or it can be useful, to treat everyone like you might need their vote one day. You may have a different system in your council, but if you treat everyone like you need their vote, you're probably going to treat them with respect and kindness, I should think. But, it doesn't mean you have to put up with nonsense. Or unreasonable, unfair, or abusive conduct. You can tell them firmly that their conduct is unreasonable, and if it's abusive in any way, you know, do involve others. Could be your whips, could be your democratic services, there are mechanisms to deal with it. There's no reason you should put up with discriminatory, bullying behaviour. That's really bad for your mental health, and it shouldn't be tolerated.
So, to sum up, if you feel unwell, depressed, problem drinking, anxiety, something that you thinks beyond your own ability to deal with, do seek help and support. There is help there. Your GP is often a good place to start with that. If you do nothing else from this training, please do build more exercise into your day. And like I say, when I say exercise I don't necessarily mean go to the gym, I just mean any more movement in your day is a good thing. Try to eat, drink, and sleep sensibly. Try to take control of social media and work patterns, rather than it control you. Be present in the moment. Especially with your close ties, your family, and your friends, and stay in touch with them. And be kind to yourself, and those around you. Kindness is really important. So, this is my ideal mentally healthy day. You can do a version of this if you want. Obviously this is not going to be relevant to everyone. I just thought it'd give you an idea of how you might apply some of the principles that we've learnt about, in an actual day. So, I wake up more or less at the same time every day. It's good to have a regular go to bed, and wake up, time. Have a cuddle. If there's anyone to cuddle in your bed. Remember, it triggers useful hormones. Then it's healthy breakfast time with the children, with the radio on, having a bit of a sing and dance, and listening to music. I walk my son to school, hand in hand. This is my eight year old son, not my twenty one year old son, to school, talking to him and saying hello to other families. So strong, and weak ties. And then back to work, at home, ticking off a list, getting dopamine hits of useful tasks, with lots of water and breaks in the garden. Tryptophan sandwich. Sounds delicious. Like chicken, or cheese, sandwich. Talking to my wife. Put the screens away for a bit. Usually call my mother at some point during the day. Then some more work with breaks. I try and get in at least one, you know, formal bit of exercise. Go for a cycle, and then a run, around a field, and say hello to fellow joggers. Have a shower, with nice soap, bit of self care there. Dark chocolate bar. Bit more work. Spend time with family. Curry. Sharing problems and support, being present with each other. End screen time about eight o'clock. Talk about today's wins, what we're grateful for. Holiday plans. Reading and cuddles at ten o'clock. And then sleep at eleven, to get eight hours in. Like I say, your day (audio distorted 37:26 - 37:32) just an example. Or arguments, I hope. Here's a bit more further reading. There's a brilliant series. The one on the left is Overcoming. This one is Anger and Irritability. But there's overcoming depression, overcoming anxiety, overcoming problem drinking, a whole series that's based on cognitive behaviour therapy techniques. Which are very evidence based, and useful. So have a look at that, if that's an issue for you. Happiness by Design, by Paul Dolan, is a really good one about building, kind of, happiness practice, into your life. As is Happier, by Tal ben Shahar, who ran a happiness course at Harvard University, that became the most popular course the university had ever run. And some other interesting books about psychology, if you like that kind of thing. And some more, I mentioned the Miracle Pill, which is a new one about exercise, which I find fascinating.
So, there is a second part to this training. I hope this has been useful for you, and I do hope you engage in the second part, which is about how to use local government powers, and influence, to create mentally healthier conditions for residents in your area. It's based on this workbook, that you may wish to have a look at as well. And we can also do this training, the LGA and myself, can arrange for this training to be done in a bespoke way, an interactive way, for your specific council, where we bring together some of the specific issues in your area, and some of the data. Very happy to do that, so do get in touch. You can contact me via Twitter, or that's my email. And please, just take two minutes to complete this survey, to give me a bit of feedback, that will help improve the training. And thank you very much for listening, I hope you have a great day. I hope you've written down three specific actions you're going to take. And, thank you.