Councillor appointed mental health champion to promote wellbeing
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A Norfolk council has appointed a mental health champion to promote residents' psychological wellbeing.
North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) has voted to appoint Liberal Democrat councillor Lucy Shires as the district's member champion for mental health.
A motion was put before a meeting of the full council, on Wednesday, November 20, which outlined the council's plans to sign up to a local authority mental health challenge.
The scheme, launched in 2013, is led by the Centre for Mental Health, alongside the Mental Health Foundation, Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Young Minds, and aims to "encourage and support local leadership for mental health and wellbeing".
Speaking at the meeting, Miss Shires said: "I believe now more than ever it is our responsibility to make sure we strive for positive mental health in our communities."
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The motion was proposed by Miss Shires and seconded by the Liberal Democrat councillor Wendy Fredericks, who added: "Councillor Shires and myself have worked with the officers involved in this and I believe it is a really good step forward."
The motion stated: "The wide variety of services offered and delivered by local authorities enables them to have a key role in promoting wellbeing and improving mental health in local communities and for people of all ages.
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"The aim of the challenge is to encourage and support local leadership for mental health and wellbeing through the appointment of champions for mental health."
The council identified quality of life as a priority in their corporate plan, and Miss Shires said: "Signing the mental health challenge will publicly demonstrate our commitment."
She added: "Appointing member champions for mental health will acknowledge the importance of and highlight the challenges faced by people with mental health needs in our communities."
The proposal to appoint Miss Shires as mental health champion, with support from Mrs Fredericks and the health and communities manager as lead officer was voted in by the full council unanimously.
Councillors also agreed to sign up to the local authority mental health challenge, and identify how they will "proactively support the delivery of the challenge".