Questions submitted by Members Under Procedure Rule No.9 will be published as a supplement following closure of the deadline.
The Chairman advised the meeting that one question pursuant to Council Procedure Rule No.9 had been submitted to the meeting. This had been circulated to all Members, separately to the agenda.
The Chairman invited, Councillor Anne Welburn, Ward Member for Cherry Willingham, to put her question to the Leader, as follows: -
“1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year. The World Health Organisation predicts that depression will be the second most common health condition worldwide in the coming years. Mental ill health costs some £105 billion each year in England alone. People with a severe mental illness die up to 20 years younger than their peers in the UK. There is often a circular relationship between mental health and issues such as housing, employment, family problems or debt.
As a local authority, we have a crucial role to play in improving the mental health of everyone in our community and tackling some of the widest and most entrenched inequalities in health. Mental health should be a priority across all the local authority’s areas of responsibility, including housing, community safety and planning. All Councillors can play a positive role in championing mental health on an individual and strategic basis.”
Please can the Leader outline the principal actions we, as a Council, are taking to:
• Support positive mental health in our community, including in local schools, neighbourhoods, and workplaces.
• Work to reduce inequalities in mental health in our community
Councillor Anne Welburn”
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Owen Bierley, responded as follows: -
“Thank you for your question Councillor Welburn.
As a district council we have no statutory responsibility for health, which includes mental health – this responsibility lies with the NHS Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust known across the system as LPFT. However as providers of key services including housing, leisure, and environmental health services and key enablers including economic development, planning and community engagement, all of which impact on the wider or social determinants of health, we play an important role in supporting the physical and mental health and well being of our residents.
The Health and Social Care White paper published earlier this year sets out the legislative proposals for the Health and Care Bill building on strong collaborations formed during the Coronavirus pandemic. District Councils have long recognised the importance of collaboration and some of the work we are currently engaged in in relation to mental health embraces a system wide approach.
Officers and Members are engaged in a number of forums and partnerships that provide opportunities to influence across the system to reduce health inequalities.
We are members of the Gainsborough Mental Health Partnership – coordinated by local Neighbourhood team (NHS)
We have Member and Officer representation at the Housing, Health and Care Delivery group.
We have a place on the Mental Health, Learning Disability and Autism Partnership Board.
Gainsborough is a pilot site for the LPFT Mental Health Transformation Programme working closely with the voluntary and community sector.
And we have a place on the Health Inequalities Programme Board, led by the NHS and ensuring a system wide approach to addressing health inequalities is embedded in the foundation of Integrated Care System development
Leaders and Chief Executives of the seven district authorities commissioned work earlier this year which has provided an emerging framework identifying the key lever areas where districts have an impact on addressing health inequalities and identifies activities which we will continue to focus on in coming years. These include;
Economic inclusion, which reduces economic inequalities and alleviates poverty as a fundamental driver for improving mental and physical health.
Environment and Climate which seeks to ensure that the environment in Lincolnshire supports the mental wellbeing of residents.
Activity and Wellbeing, aligning district council work to that of the Active Lincs Physical Activity Blueprint with better use of green spaces, normalising and embedding physical activity, social prescribing to address inactivity, arts, culture and the use of community venues – all which impact positively on mental health.
Housing and Homelessness, where we work to provide services for the most vulnerable. Improvements in housing conditions and access to good quality housing are critical to mental health. Our work with colleagues at Lincolnshire County Council continues towards the objectives set within the Homes for Independence Blueprint, including enabling the provision of specialist accommodation for working age adults, adults with learning disabilities and mental health issues and our ageing population.
And finally Community Empowerment, which recognises and builds upon the role and expertise the voluntary and community sector have and can play in addressing inequalities in mental health.
Operationally on a day to day basis Officers work to meet the strategic aim within the Corporate Plan which is ’to reduce health inequalities and promote wellbeing across the district through the promotion of healthy lifestyles.’ This is not only through the key services already mentioned as contributing to the wider determinants of health, but through other channels where we can contribute towards and support positive mental health in our communities. This may be through signposting and communication and also through links to wider partnerships and stakeholders including local businesses, schools and community groups.
Within our own workplace we actively promote positive mental health through our Health and Wellbeing central support initiative ‘ONE’ which offers advice and support for employees as well as events, tips and activities that support positive mental wellbeing. An example of a popular activity for staff has been a step challenge where teams of officers are encouraged to get out and about in the fresh air to increase their physical activity and move away from their desks by increasing the number of steps they take over a four-week period. The latest step challenge for Officers has commenced today and the benefits to mental health of initiatives such as this are surely to be wholly supported and welcomed.
In summary work in this important area is moving forward at pace and with purpose.
Thank you again for your question Councillor Welburn”
Councillor Welburn thanked the Leader for the response, welcomed the amount of positive work being undertaken but also urged that greater provision of footpaths, recognising their positive contribution to mental health, not be overlooked. This was a matter the Authority was keen to pursue with the County Council.
Following indications to speak, the Chairman reminded the Chamber that questions under procedure rule No.9 were not for debate by other Members.