Sir Norman Lamb, Chair of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust shares his thoughts on World Mental Health Day 2022.
The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on October 10 each year. Marking World Mental Health Day is vitally important – we know mental health problems impact around one in four people at some point in their life and we must do everything we can, individually and as a society to prevent people from experiencing mental ill health.
The day is an opportunity for us to talk about mental health, acts as a reminder to look after our own mental health and that of our friends and families, and to ask for help if you are struggling. Thank you to all my colleagues at South London and Maudsley who work to improve people’s lives providing mental health care and treatment every day.
Crucially, World Mental Health Day also exists as a day which reminds us that mental health has not achieved parity with physical health. Considerable steps have been taken to ensure we can offer and design mental health care systems which are accountable and responsible to those who work within them and those who use them. But we recognise more must be done to continue to advocate for people who use mental health services locally and nationally and who deserve equal access to the most effective and safest care and treatment.
Read about South London and Maudsley’s strategy Aiming High; Changing Lives.
We know that Covid-19 has had a lasting psychological impact on people’s health and wellbeing. Now, with the cost-of-living crisis impacting so many people’s lives, bringing together people who make the decisions with those who hold them accountable has never been more important. Our system must be equipped to support individuals, families and societies who have been impacted by these significant events – whether through work and wages or tackling social isolation.
We owe it to our communities to ensure people who need mental health support are represented in rooms where decisions are made. And so, this year, on World Mental Health Day, we are continuing to act on this and inviting decision makers and our communities to come together to continue to drive the mental ill-health prevention agenda through our South London Listens Accountability Assembly.
South London Listens is a unique collaboration built on the contributions of thousands of people from across south London. Since 2020 we have been working to prevent a mental ill-health crisis and help our communities recover from the lasting impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
We are pioneering a new approach to partnership, building stronger relationships, sharing power, listening, co-producing solutions and taking action to overturn the inequalities which we know have a devastating impact on mental health.
I am really pleased that this year, World Mental Health Day will be an opportunity to bring people together from across south London to focus on the areas which need most attention, and celebrate those where significant developments have been made in mental health provision. Our commitment to action and creating lasting change for our communities is stronger than ever.