Babergh takes the lead in signing mental health challenge

Following a decision by councillors Babergh will become the first district or borough council in Suffolk to sign the Local Councils’ Mental Health Challenge.

Councillor Luke Cresswell put the motion to the meeting of Babergh’s Council on Tuesday calling upon the council to sign the challenge and appoint both a Member Champion and identify a member of staff within the council to act as lead officer for mental health.

Following an amendment, proposed by Babergh leader councillor John Ward and supported by Councillor Cresswell, that committed the council to appoint not one but two members of staff to act as lead officers, one for internal work with Babergh staff and one for work with communities in the district, the motion was passed unanimously.

The Local Councils’ Mental Health Challenge aims to encourage local authorities to take a proactive approach to this critical issue and work to promote wellbeing and mental health in their districts.

The Member Champion will be appointed shortly and their details will be available on the Mental Health Challenge website

Councillor Cresswell said: “I am delighted that this important issue received cross-party support and I hope we can build on this in the future. Babergh is taking the lead in Suffolk in signing up to this challenge and I hope to see other councils follow our lead: every council that signs up is another district that is prioritising mental health in their communities.”

Councillor Ward added: “While as a district council Babergh is not directly involved with health or social care provision, there is much that we do to create an environment that promotes mental well-being. I was proud to be able to support this motion and thank councillor Cresswell for bringing it to the council: as the first district or borough council in Suffolk to sign up to the Challenge we can take a lead in showing just how we can change our district for the better by championing mental health in all our communities.”

The Local Authorities’ Mental Health Challenge is run by the Centre for Mental Health, Mental Health Foundation, AMHP, Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, Royal College of Psychiatrists and YoungMinds.

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