Westminster City Council focuses on mental wellbeing

Tue, 10/10/2017

This World Mental Health Day, Westminster City Council launches the Director of Public Health’s Annual Report, ‘The Roads to Wellbeing’. The report focuses on common factors that can affect mental wellbeing and explores how to maintain and improve mental wellbeing throughout life.

The report also highlights the health needs of the community and discusses why good mental wellbeing or ‘feeling good’ is crucial for us all. It recommends ways in which positive mental wellbeing can help people recover from illness and live longer.

Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services and Public Health, Councillor Heather Acton said: “Mental wellbeing is important for us all and we need to talk about our own and others mental health, helping remove the stigma of letting people know when we are not okay or helping others if they are not okay. 

“Every one of us can be affected by poor mental wellbeing at any point in our lives. Lots of factors, such as a relationship breakdown, money worries, unemployment or having been bullied at a young age, can result in poor mental wellbeing or just feeling low. We need to be able to say so as a first step to positive mental wellbeing.”

The report draws on local and national data to provide a snapshot of mental health and wellbeing.

Key statistics included:

  • Westminster was ranked first in England, in the latest social mobility index which looks at the chances a child from a disadvantaged socio-economic background has of doing as an adult (The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, 2016)
  • Young people who are bisexual are 3.3 x more likely to report low life satisfaction compared to young people who are heterosexual (Public Health England, 2016)
  • 60 per cent of children in care have some form of mental health illness. This is about six times higher than all children in the local population  (Public Health England, 2016)
  • Poverty increases the risk of mental health problems, and can be both a causal factor and a consequence of mental ill health  (The Mental Health Foundation: Elliot, 2016)

This year’s report advises people to get on the ‘Roads to Wellbeing’ by incorporating five simple activities. Originally suggested by The New Economics Foundation, the five ways could include anything from giving up time to volunteer, becoming active, connecting with other people in the area, learning something new or simply taking notice of what is around you.

Representatives from Westminster City Council attended the Rhythm for Life event at Westminster Music Library, where participants demonstrated the ways in which drumming can have a huge positive impact on health. 

Speaking at today’s event, Councillor Paul Church, Lead Member for Mental Health & Deputy Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services and Public Health said: “Activities such as drumming and music can help people regulate emotions, reduce anxiety and stress levels, while increasing a sense of connection and wellbeing.

“This is just one example of some of the work we are doing in collaboration with partners, to involve people of all ages, to explore activities that can help alleviate their anxieties and stress and find new ways to improve their wellbeing. I urge everyone to take a look at how they can begin to incorporate one, two or all five ways to wellbeing into their daily lives.”

The full annual report from Public Health which includes personal case studies and local activities supporting the five ways to wellbeing can be viewed here.  

Last updated: 10 October 2017
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