Cllr Danny Adilypour is the Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care (job-share), and a councillor in Streatham South ward.
Today is Time to Talk Day, where we ask people to focus on mental health and have conversations about it with people to try and break down the stigma that is sadly often still attached to the subject. This feels more important than ever this year, as we are all aware of the mental health challenges people have face coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and the difficulties lockdown restrictions have imposed on people. None of us have been immune to this, which is why it is so important that we talk to each other about the challenges we have experienced and pick up the phone to check that our friends and family members are doing ok.
As a council, we are determined to avoid the pandemic being followed by a mental health crisis. Even before we were hit by COVID-19, we knew that the mental health challenges faced by local residents required a better, more coordinated response. That’s why in 2019 we set up the Lambeth Living Well Network Alliance with our partner organisations in the borough, to ensure our local mental health services are more joined up, quicker and easier to access and more focused on prevention rather than waiting for treatment after a crisis point has already been reached. We also launched a single point of access for mental health support in September 2019. If you are worried about your mental health, or the mental health of a friend or family member, you can call the Lambeth Single Point of Access on 0800 090 2456 or visit www.lambethtogether.net/spa and fill out an online form. Support is available, so please don’t suffer in silence.
This work has become even more important than it already was as a result of the impact the pandemic has had on people’s lives. From widespread feelings of social isolation, to families spending lockdown in cramped, overcrowded accommodation and our children and young people missing school and being isolated from their friends, we know our residents have had multiple challenges imposed on them and as a council we are here to support you in every way we can.
However it’s not enough for us just to say we are here to offer support, we need to actively demonstrate this and also show we are listening to the mental health concerns of our communities and residents. That’s why we have partnered with Citizens UK and our partner health organisations for the South London Listens campaign, where we aim to connect with as many residents and community groups in Lambeth as possible to hear first hand experiences of how COVID-19 has impacted upon mental health. Through his listening exercise, we want to develop a new strategy and set of clear actions that we can deliver to support the mental health of our residents as we emerge from the pandemic and beyond. You can find out more about the campaign and register for updates at the following link – https://actionnetwork.org/forms/south-london-listens
Listening and talking to each other about mental health is what Time to Talk Day is all about, but this shouldn’t be something that only happens one day a year. By checking in with our friends, colleagues and family members and asking how they are doing, we help to break down the stigma around mental health and open up conversations that ensure people can reach out and get the support they need. Lambeth is full of incredible individuals and organisations that do this every day. As a council we look forward to working with all of you to provide the mental health advice and support our residents need and promote the importance of mental wellbeing in everything we do. It’s always time to talk and we’re always here to listen.
Cllr Danny Adilypour