This report explores the Local Authority Mental Health Challenge and considers the implications of signing up to the commitments as a way of promoting mental health awareness and maintaining good mental health for elected members, staff and communities.
The Strategic Lead Housing, Health & Environment presented the report that explored the Local Authority Mental Health Challenge and considered the implications of signing up to the commitments as a way of promoting mental health awareness and maintaining good mental health for elected members, staff and communities.
The Council already had a number of programmes designed to maintain good mental health and the challenge builds on existing commitments in our Public Health Strategic Plan and our Happy, Healthy, Here programme.
Cllr Steve Gazzard wished to thank John Golding and Cllr Paul Millar for their valuable input into the report. He reminded members that as councillors they were all responsible for the health and well-being of staff as without them the council could not function. He stated that larger workloads were also putting pressure on councillors themselves.
Cllr Tony Woodward as Member Champion for Mental Health thanked John Golding and supported the recommendations in the report.
Further discussions included the following:
· Councillors must be supportive of staff who were continuing to deliver council services, from the CEO to frontline staff
· From councillors to staff everyone was having to deal with working as well as their own personal issues brought about through the pandemic making life very difficult for many at the present time
· The issue of mental health needed to be embraced across all parties to make the best of the new officer post, Member Champion and other initiatives available
· Welfare of officers should be on the forefront of everyone’s mind. Hope this initiative would help towards a mutual understanding between officers and members
· Huge stress from increased workloads and especially remote working. Recommendations need thorough risk analysis
· Councillors need to consider their wording in group emails to each other so as not to come across as insulting
1. that the Council adopt and sign up to the Local Authority Mental Health Challenge;
2. that the appointed Mental Health Member Champion have regard to the guidelines contained in the Local Authority Mental Health Challenge in carrying out their role;
3. a Lead Officer is identified and additional officer capacity is approved to further support staff and facilitate positive mental health for elected members;
4. the commitment is captured in the updated Council Plan and in our Public Health Strategic Plan, and
5. that the new officer act as a liaison between the council and other authorities and outside bodies concerned with mental health, as well as the new mental health officer within EDDC housing team and the Mental Health Member Champion. This is to ensure that they have the most current and up to date advice to assist members and officers with signposting should members of the public approach them for assistance.
RECOMMENDED to Council:
6. To approve the Lead Officer role on the basis of a 1 year fixed term post and the necessary budget of circa £50k be taken from the £700k funding provided by Government in relation to COVID.
To take forward the Cabinet’s request to further explore the Local Authority Mental Health Challenge and assess the implications of adopting the actions set out in the challenge.