People who live, work or run businesses in Southampton are being asked to express their views on how it can become a Mental Health Friendly City.
Southampton Mental Health Network is asking residents to complete its survey to discover what they think a Mental Health Friendly City looks like and what it would mean to them.
Chloe Naegeli, Southampton Mental Health Network’s Administrator, said: “Everyone’s mental health should be encouraged and valued, which is why we are working towards making Southampton a ‘Mental Health Friendly City’, but we need help from the city’s residents, workers and business owners, so we can incorporate their wishes and ideas into our collective vision.
“We want to hear from people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and genders to find out what they think this would look like. We feel a Mental Health Friendly City is one where people are understood, respected and supported and everyone’s mental health is encouraged and valued, as having good mental health is just as important as having good physical health. Taking care of our brains and our mental wellbeing is important for everyone.”
Southampton Mental Health Network has put together a survey for people to fill out to help with its research. The survey can be found online at https://bit.ly/3ljfyx2 and views should be submitted by April 30.
Chloe added: “We hope as many people as possible come forward to give us their thoughts and feelings on this topic, which is vital to us all, more so in view of the current pandemic. If anyone would like to leave practical suggestions when filling out the survey, as to how to achieve our vision, we would really welcome these.
“The pandemic has highlighted issues related to mental wellbeing and resilience in the face of potential health and financial worries, as well as more deep-seated poverty, loneliness and isolation.
“One of the issues we wish to raise awareness of is using the term ‘mental health’ to describe mental ill health, as there is a clear distinction between someone who has issues with mental ill health and someone who wishes to maintain and foster good mental health.
“We feel in a Mental Health Friendly City, people will be aware of and understand what mental health and mental ill health are. Many of those affected by mental ill health feel society fails to understand the condition they live with, its impact and how to interact with them.”
Southampton Mental Health Network became publicly active in 2019 and the current 150 plus members comprise of representatives from around 80 organisations.
These include the NHS, health professionals, city council departments, and other statutory service providers, through to small community groups, individuals with lived experiences, carers, and the wider public, including businesses.
The initiative is being led and coordinated by Communicare in Southampton, a good neighbours’ charity that operates across the city helping eradicate isolation and loneliness.
Supported by the Southampton NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Southampton Mental Health Network aims to bring individuals of all ages together, as well as communities, professionals, service providers, businesses and other organisations.
Southampton Mental Health Network also hopes to boost resilience and to create a movement based on improving attitudes, understanding and education with regards to mental health in the city.
“Collectively the members of Southampton Mental Health Network are all working closely together, sharing accurate information, ideas and resources and looking at ways of influencing outcomes, opinions, actions, attitudes, understanding and the words we use.
“We also want to find out what gaps there are in services, where there might be overlaps, the places in the city where people feel welcome and safe and identify why these places make them feel like this, so more may be created.”
“Building on the ‘Ideas for Wellbeing’ survey published by member organisation Touch Network in cooperation with Healthwatch Southampton in 2018, ultimately, we’re looking to establish a robust support network, grow our membership, increase information on the groups out there that provide help and support, and to organise events where health professionals and community groups can get together for the benefit of all. We’d also like to realise our ultimate aim – making Southampton a Mental Health Friendly City.”
To take part in Southampton Mental Health Network’s survey, complete it online here https://bit.ly/3ljfyx2 by April 30.
To join Southampton Mental Health Network and for further information, visit https://communicareinsouthampton.org.uk/mental-health-network/ or call 023 8250 0050. Membership is free and open to any individual or organisation wishing to become involved.
- Picture: Ling Salter from Compassionate Cuppa, Chloe Naegeli, Southampton Mental Health Network’s Administrator and member David Pritchard.