Making a real difference to mental health and wellbeing

Teresa Salami-Oru, Public Health Consultant,

Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

 

We’re proud here at the Royal Borough to be sponsoring the Brighter Berkshire Year of Mental Health and it’s a great way to help us change the way we think and how we work to fully support people’s needs.

I’ve been blown away by the reaction to this campaign locally; it’s so important that we keep conversations about mental health in the public eye.

In just a few months we’ve managed to take some really positive steps forward within the council and I’m pleased to say that a lot of this early success has been targeted towards the children and young people in our area.

By establishing a schools network and offering mental health awareness training in local secondary schools we’re getting rid of the taboo of talking about mental health early on and making sure that children and young people know that this is something that can affect everyone.

But this work doesn’t just stop in schools, we want to lead by example at the Royal Borough so we’ve also been offering mental health first aid to all our managers to ensure that staff, as well as our residents, get the support they need and know how to identify when someone may need help.

We’ve also got our wider workforce involved and identified council staff mental health champions we hope that as this grows so that we  can develop  a network of champions and ambassadors throughout the community.

Outside the council there is some great partnership working across the whole of Berkshire to launch a county-wide suicide prevention strategy which has been approved by all Berkshire Health & Wellbeing Boards. Locally we have developed a draft Suicide Prevention action plan bespoke to the Royal Borough which will go out to consultation in the next few weeks.

The next milestone we have coming up is the launch of our new Resilience service on 25 May. By working with a new provider, Cranston, our drug and alcohol service will extend to cover areas such as dual diagnosis, suicide and self harm.

Good mental health is just as important as good physical health.

Improving the mental health and wellbeing of people in Berkshire, particularly our most vulnerable residents, is exactly what Brighter Berkshire is about and I look forward to seeing where we take this work in the coming months.