Kingston Council appoints five mental health champions

Five champions have been appointed to ensure mental health is factored into all of the council’s decisions.

The following appointments on each of the council’s strategic committees were confirmed at Tuesday’s Council meeting (16 October 2018):

  • Community Engagement Committee - Councillor Olivia Boult
  • Environment and Sustainability Committee - Councillor Zain Abbas
  • Finance and Contracts Committee - Councillor Mark Beynon
  • Strategic Housing and Planning Committee - Councillor Lesley Heap
  • Children’s and Adults Care and Education Committee - Councillor Anita Schaper

More than 100 local authorities have a recognised council member whose role is to advocate for mental health and champion the cause in their community. 

Speaking at Council, Leader of the Council, Councillor Liz Green, said:

“We made the appointment of a mental health champion a manifesto commitment. There was so much interest from our members that we realised that were able to have one on each committee. The beauty behind that is, through the training these champions will receive, every decision that the council takes, there will be someone asking about the mental health implications of the decision.

By weaving that into every decision we take, we can work together with our partners to really improve the mental health of our residents workers and students of this borough. I’d like to thank everybody who stepped forward for this role.” 

Member champions across England are now advocating for mental health in council policies and strategies, building partnerships with health services, schools and businesses, and working with their communities to help to combat stigma and improve understanding.

The role of Kingston Council’s mental health champions includes:

  • Being a leader and advocate for mental health on behalf of the council and specifically for their committee.
  • To work collaboratively with the mental health champions from other strategic committees to provide political leadership in all aspects of the council’s work that impact on mental health, particularly the promotion of mental health and the prevention of mental illness.
  • Work with officers who have a role in promoting mental health and preventing mental illness and ensure needs assessments and new evidence is brought to the attention of their committee members and understood.
  • Attend any relevant training provided by Public Health England or other partners.

Further information

The full report that was considered by Council can be accessed online.