Political Support for Brighter Berkshire

The Brighter Berkshire initiative is not about promoting one political party over another. Just as there is a national All Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health, we hope that all parties locally embrace this opportunity to engage the whole spectrum of the community in mental health. We welcome any and all involvement to help raise awareness and reduce stigma. We will list the involvement and support of political figures here, as we know that engaging those involved in politics is an important element and influence in improving mental health.

Richard Benyon, MP for Newbury, is keen to endorse this initiative: ‘Mental health is an issue which is a growing concern for all of us locally and as a community we have the power to come together to do more. Joined-up thinking like Brighter Berkshire will help raise awareness and build resilience, enabling people to become happier and more productive.’

Richard spoke at the first planning event in Newbury and has since written to all MP’s in Berkshire in January and asked for their support and engagement in the initiative. He also asked the Prime Minister on 1st February in Prime Ministers Question Time for her endorsement as a Berkshire MP and as PM. He has attended a local Health and Wellbeing Board with a mental health focus and has attended two meetings of the newly set up Suicide Prevention Group in Newbury. Richard has engaged in a number of other ways locally and nationally to see what he may be able to understand and influence in making improvements to mental health service provision.

Fiona McTaggart, Previous MP for Slough has spoken in support of the initiative at a fundraising lunch in March before stepping down.

Matt Rodda, Newly elected MP for Reading East has offered support to the campaign and has attended an event in Reading to listen to attendee’s and show support for increasing awareness of mental health.

Alok Sharma, MP for Reading West has connected Brighter Berkshire team to a number of business leaders to help support better mental health understanding and awareness in business.

John Redwood, MP for Wokingham has committed to support Brighter Berkshire through attending events where those with mental health issues will be able to share their experiences and has also promised to connect the team with business leaders and other community leaders to help raise awareness.

Adam Afriyie, MP for Windsor has committed to connect Brighter Berkshire activities with local community leaders, to profile some of the work in his communications and to participate in an awareness raising event.

Teresa May, MP Maidenhead has committed to support the initiative through the work in her Maidenhead constituency on Mental Health and where diary permits to attend a relevant event in support of the initiative and hear from those with experience of mental health issues.

Cllr Dale Birch, Executive Member and Deputy Leader in Bracknell Forrest and Mental Health Challenge Council Champion says ‘This ties in very well with our drive locally to mobilise valuable community resources to help improve our health and wellbeing.’

Cllr Graeme Hoskin, in Reading is Chair of the Health & Wellbeing Board, and also the Mental Health Challenge Council Champion says ‘Although we are prioritising mental health we don’t know how know changes to planned services will impact this work so it is great to hear volunteers taking the initiative across Berkshire to raise the profile in this way and connect people through this positive approach’.

Cllr Stuart Carroll, cabinet member for public health, who has been involved in helping set up the initiative, said: “We cannot promote public health and wellbeing without talking about mental health. Across the council, we have adopted an approach that is clear that there is no public health without mental health. I am delighted we are supporting this initiative and will be taking a lead role in the campaign.

It is so important that we talk openly about mental health, remove the stigmas surrounding it and treat it with the same importance as physical health and other conditions. Around one in four of us will be affected in some way by mental health issues and we hope that by shining a light on it this year, we can make a real difference for our residents and employees, and make 2017 the year of mental health.”

Cllr MJ Saunders, mental health champion for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council and mental health patient, said: “The best way to begin improvements in mental health is to talk honestly. By starting this year in an open collaboration with the whole community, through Brighter Berkshire, we will engage with our residents and partner agencies. We want to lead by example here at the Royal Borough and will be offering mental health first aid training to our staff throughout the month. Incorporating respect and understanding of how mental health issues can affect people is at the core of how we think about residents’ health. I am proud to say we now include awareness of mental health in many of our plans and policies and want to see this adopted across the board.”

Original article can be found here.

Brighter Berkshire

Year of Mental Health 2017

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