Agenda and minutes
Contact: Ishbel Morren Email: email@example.com
Apologies for absence
There were none.
Disclosures of interest
There were none.
The minutes of the meeting held on 18 June 2019 to be submitted and signed.
The minutes of the meeting held on 18 June 2019 were approved.
Role of the mental health champion
Presentation by Councillor Rabi Martins to outline the role of Watford Borough Council’s mental health champion
Watford Borough Council’s Mental Health Champion, Councillor Rabi Martins, explained that he had been appointed by Mayor Thornhill in 2013/14.
Officer support had been provided by the Community and Environmental Services directorate and progress had been made to define the Mental Health Champion’s role and objectives:
1. To promote and drive the mental health and wellbeing agenda within the council through the Mayor, Portfolio Holders and strategic leadership team
2. To engage with and support voluntary sector groups providing mental health support in the community e.g., Guideposts, Signpost and New Hope
3. To encourage local businesses to adopt mental health friendly policies
4. To learn and share best practice with other authorities, particularly across Hertfordshire.
It had been decided to progress the first of these objectives initially i.e., promoting mental health and wellbeing within the council, before engaging externally. This would enable best practice to be established which could then be shared more widely. To date, the council had taken the following steps led by the Mayor, Mental Health Champion and officers:
· Time to Change pledge – In December 2018, Watford Borough Council had joined 900 organisations in England (across all sectors) to sign a pledge which committed the authority to promote and manage mental health wellbeing amongst staff and to tackle the stigma attached to mental health.
· Relaunching the relevant health and wellbeing pages on the council’s intranet – A dedicated area on the intranet entitled “Watford Health and You” had brought together information for staff about health and lifestyle, mental health and the Time to Change pledge.
· Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) – 12 members of staff had trained as Mental Health First Aiders for the council. The accredited course enabled them to act as a first point of contact for colleagues seeking help.
· Mental Health & You Champions – A dedicated group of individuals had been established to help drive the council’s pledge, including through organising and supporting activities that helped people change the way they thought and acted about mental health. Joint meetings were held regularly with employee champions from Three Rivers District Council.
· Learning and personal development – Ad hoc training had been organised for staff on mental health and wellbeing issues.
It was also noted that council staff had access to an independent employee assistance programme WorkplaceWellness, providing confidential counselling and advice.
During subsequent discussions, the following points were raised:
· A formal role profile should be agreed for Watford’s Mental Health Champion to maintain focus and direction. It was suggested that the Mayoral appointment should be for a period of four years, and could be renewable. In addition to providing dedicated officer support, consideration should be given to attaching a small budget to the role.
· 120 local authorities had signed the Time to Change pledge, including five in Hertfordshire (Watford, Three Rivers, St Albans, Dacorum, and Broxborne).
· It was important to consider mental health and wellbeing together.
· The Mental Health Champion should play an important part in bringing together relevant mental health ... view the full minutes text for item 10.
Date of the next meeting
The final meeting of the task group takes place on Tuesday 17 September.
· Tuesday 17 September – to analyse the survey results and agree the task group’s recommendations.