Become a Citizens UK Mental Health Champion
As we continue to battle COVID-19, it is becoming clear that the UK also faces a huge mental health crisis.
The Centre for Mental Health has forecast that at least half a million more people in UK may experience mental ill-health as a result of COVID-19.
- A survey of over 16,000 people by Mind has revealed that 75% of 13-24 year olds and 65% adults over 25 with an existing mental health problem reported worse mental health during lockdown.
- Trauma as a result of having COVID-19, bereavement due to the pandemic, delayed access to treatment and reduced support for people with pre-existing mental illness are all likely to lead to a huge increase in demand for NHS services over the coming months.
- This all comes at a time when mental health services pre-pandemic were already under great strain and there are many barriers preventing individuals and communities from being mentally healthy.
Citizens UK is making mental health a national campaign priority for 2020/21.
We invite you to become a Citizens UK Mental Health Champion and join our team of community leaders around the UK working together to:
- Think creatively about how we can play our part, as individuals and civil society organisations, in responding to the mental health crisis
- Develop local innovations to improve mental health services, making them more people-centred and fit for the communities they serve
- Campaign for action from national government that meets the immense challenges arising from the mental health crisis
We are running 5 fortnightly Mental Health Champions Online Events (see below for dates):
- These will equip you with all the training and tools you be a change-maker for mental health at all levels, whether that's within your own organisation, improving local NHS services or engaging with national decision-makers.
- We will be joined by policy makers, mental health leaders and former government ministers who will share their expertise and help you develop your action.
- We will share stories and campaign lessons from across various Citizens UK local chapters who are taking action on mental health.
- Our aim is to build a community of practice - a team of Citizens UK leaders who learn together, take regular action, and build our power to make change at national level.
Wednesday 30th September, 5-6.30pm
Wednesday 14th October, 5-6.30pm
Community Organising for Mental Health 1
Wednesday 28th October, 5-6.30pm
Community Organising for Mental Health 2
Wednesday 11th November, 5-6.30pm
Seeking Systemic Change 1
Wednesday 25th November, 5-6.30pm
Seeking Systemic Change 2
- Citizens Cymru Wales leaders have worked with colleges in Cardiff to increase the number of mental health counsellor sessions available to schools
- Tyne and Wear Citizens ran a Commission on Mental Health, Wellbeing and Public Life in the North East. The Commissioners engaged with testimonies and evidence brought forward by over 400 people about their experiences of accessing mental health services. They have produced the Living Well Report.
- Leeds Citizens campaigned and won new mental health liaison practitioners in GP surgeries
- Merton Citizens in South London campaigned for and won an increase in the Child and Adolescent Mental health budget.
As well as campaigning for more resources and better more creative services, we also know that civil society must play its part. Prevention is the only way we will really turn the tide on a system collapsing under the pressure of such high demand. Never has this prevention work in local communities been more important than now.
In 2018 South London Citizens worked with South West London St George’s Trust to co-produce a schools mental health charter and a mental health champions campaign. The work was shortlisted for a Guardian Public Services Award. Nottingham Citizens did a similar piece of work co-producing training with the local Mental Health Trust which is now being run in local member organisations. It is this work we want to learn from and spread across the UK in the next 12 months.
Tyne and Wear Citizens Commissioners meet for a public hearing in Durham.
Parents and Children Together (Mumspace)
Another successful project we are expanding is Parents and Children Together (PACT), which hosts a Mums space for young first-time parents and their children. PACT is aimed at building confidence amongst parents, addressing both health and mental health needs by increasing their awareness of how to access health services and parent networks.
If you or your institution would like to be involved in our mental health organising work, please contact Peter Brierley.