Promoting positive mental health and wellbeing is a key priority for Wokingham Borough Council. And as a result, it has launched a public consultation so it can develop its mental health strategy based on the priorities of the people that live, study and work in Wokingham Borough.
The council believes that key actions in the strategy should include a focus on prevention, early intervention, clear and easily accessible access to appropriate support, health promotion and joined up services. The council wants to support the continued development of more resilient communities; communities that can help support people with mental health issues and help to tackle the stigma associated with mental ill-health.
The council is committed to commissioning and providing effective supportive services which respond to the changing needs of the borough residents. It’s keen to provide support as well as empowering people so they can be as independent as possible through their own resilience and through the support of their friends, families and the wider community.
The council has already made significant progress in the roll-out of mental health first training and now wishes to explore the development of a mental health champion’s programme. Mental health champions could help lead on anti-stigma campaigns in their area, as well as offering support to mental health first aiders and community groups.
At the heart of any support is, of course, the person themselves. Designing support and care for people requires putting them at the centre and in control; offering choices as well as making information, advice and guidance accessible. The council also recognises the importance of support from family and friends and wishes to explore further how it might respond to some of their issues in the mental health strategy.
Moving from children’s and young people’s services is a significant time in a person’s and their family’s lives. The council wants to understand, through this consultation process, how it might improve the transition process into adult services for young people.
Pre-pandemic, it was estimated that in any one week, more than 9,000 people in Wokingham Borough were struggling with a common mental health problem such as anxiety or depression, however this figure is now likely to have doubled as a result of Covid-19. One in four people (pre-Covid) will have a mental health problem over their lifetime, again if applied to the Wokingham Borough population that equates to approximately 40,000 people.
The consultation document has been produced following discussions with a broad range of stakeholders, including people with lived experience, carers, health and social care staff.
Cllr Phil Cunnington, deputy executive member for health, wellbeing and adult services, said: “Mental ill-health is not uncommon, in fact some studies indicate that its more uncommon not to have mental health issues. So, it is our priority to ensure that where possible people who do have mental health issues are supported so they can remain part of the community as opposed to be being apart from it.
“We really want to hear your views on what you think works well now and what you would like to see in the future, by completing our questionnaire or being part of a consultation group, you will help us to improve the services we commission and deliver.”
The consultation document, along with a questionnaire, has been circulated widely across the Wokingham Borough. This consultation is open to everyone who lives works or studies in the borough. The council would also like feedback from those organisations that work within the borough who are or who wish to be more involved in supporting the population’s mental health and wellbeing.
You can also view the consultation document on the council’s website at: www.wokingham.gov.uk (search current consultations) and provide comments on the online questionnaire. The closing date for comments is 30 September.
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