Local councils in England can improve mental health in their communities by committing to a new 18-point call to action published today by Centre for Mental Health.
Mentally healthier council areas sets out how all council candidates in this year’s local government elections on 4 May can commit to improving mental health and reducing inequalities in the areas they hope to serve.
It shows that councils can improve mental health for all by tackling poverty, giving children a good start in life, improving the physical environment people live in, and committing to high quality services for people with mental health difficulties.
Among 18 actions Centre for Mental Health is calling on council candidates to commit to are:
- Becoming a Real Living Wage employer, keeping their lowest paid workers out of poverty
- Boosting support for parents and for children’s mental health
- Helping people to keep their homes warm and well insulated
- Improving social care for people living with mental health difficulties.
The manifesto says that local councils have significant powers by which they can give more of their residents a better chance of good mental health. By keeping more people out of poverty, boosting mental health support for young people, creating safer and healthier neighbourhoods, and boosting services that enable people to live well, they can reduce mental health inequalities and create happier places to live in.
Centre for Mental Health interim chief executive Andy Bell said: “Local councils play a crucial part in supporting good mental health in communities. Many have championed mental health steadfastly during the last ten years, often in the face of funding cuts as well as the threats from a global pandemic and the cost of living crisis.
“Every local council in England can make changes that will boost mental health for all. We want all candidates and political parties standing in this year’s local elections to back our calls to action and make a commitment to improve mental health through evidence-based actions.”
Ed Davie, Policy and Public Affairs Lead at Centre for Mental Health, said: “We’re asking citizens in places with local elections this year to ask their council candidates to commit to the 18 points in our manifesto, which could transform local communities’ mental health.
“Better mental health is every council’s business. Every councillor has the power to make changes that will benefit their communities both immediately and in the long term. We hope all candidates will do what they can to champion mental health and make a difference for their residents.”
Centre for Mental Health recently launched a new Mentally Healthier Councils Network for elected members and council staff, offering training and resources to help local authorities to promote better mental health in their communities.