One in six adults and 1 in ten children between the ages of 5 and 16 have a mental health problem at any one time in our region, according to “Thrive West Midlands”, a vital new report from the Mental Health Commission established by the Combined Authority.
Not only does this blight the lives of the sufferers and of those close to them, it affects our schools, workplaces, economy and communities and creates a huge burden on our society.
The Commission has concluded it is time for change and has set out a six point plan of action. Rightly, one of these points is to ‘Get the Community Involved’.
Mental Health is an issue that affects all of us, involves all of us and demands a response from all of us. It is time for the community to ‘step up’.
The commission plans to launch a programme of community initiatives to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing, guided by people with experience of mental ill health and driven by the community.
This will include:
- An annual ‘Walk out of Darkness’ – a 10 mile sponsored walk through the region to raise funds for organisations supporting people with mental ill health and raising awareness of mental health
- An annual awards ceremony to recognise people in local communities who do amazing work supporting others
- Exploring if a community art initiative such as that carried out in Philadelphia could help to improve public mental health.
It will also launch a large public health programme to train up to 500,000 people across the region in Mental Health First Aid or equivalent programmes over the next ten years to improve people’s knowledge of mental health and how they can support each other.
Find out more on the Combined Authority website.