A PLEDGE to fight for better mental health services has been officially backed by Redditch Borough Council.
The statement, launched by Redditch Mental Health Action Group in the Standard to mark World Mental Health Day, calls on mental health to be placed on an equal footing with physical health and all organisations to work together to improve services.
Putting forward the motion on Monday (October 20), Coun Rebecca Blake said there had been ‘incredible support’ for improving mental health awareness from statutory services, the voluntary sector and businesses.
“In doing this together we start to tackle the stigma around this. Together as a town we have really upped the profile of mental health and long may it continue.”
Council leader Bill Hartnett said even though the borough was not directly responsible for services, they came into contact with people affected on a daily basis.
“The borough has started work in this area and we need to work in partnership with all services and act as advocates. The more we talk about it, the more people will come forward, the better informed we’ll be and the better services will be hopefully.”
Conservative group leader Juliet Brunner suggested the county council’s health and overview scrutiny committee should also be asked to conduct a review into mental health services in Redditch, which was supported by her fellow councillors.
“No one could disagree with the sentiments in this motion. Mental health and learning disabilities are the Cinderella of the health system,” she said.
“Each of us will know someone and indeed some will suffer mental ill health in our lifetimes.”
Coun David Thain added: “This is a hugely credible and worthwhile motion and I’ll be supporting it. There can’t be anybody in the chamber who hasn’t had some close association with somebody with a mental health problem of any kind.”
The motion was supported by all councillors except Coun Mike Braley, who refused to take part in the debate and sat in the public gallery saying it should not be discussed as mental health was a national issue for which the council had no responsibility.