Kingston Council appointed five mental health ambassadors to raise public awareness of mental health issues as part of World Mental Health Day, an annual event on October 10th that began in 1992.
Each ambassador will sit on one of the five council committees which cover care and education, transport, community engagement, housing, and finance, to advocate and support mental health schemes in the community.
Liz Trayhorn, public health lead at the council, said: “These mental health ambassadors will advocate and push for activities that promote good mental health to help people in Kingston.”
The ambassadors are Olivia Boult, Zain Abbas, Mark Beynon, Lesley Heap and Anita Schaper.
They will aim to advise on aspects of the council’s work that impact on mental health and work with professionals on promoting good mental health and preventing mental illnesses.
Rianne Eimers, CEO of Mind in Kingston, welcomed the move and hoped that the appointment of the new ambassadors would encourage more people to seek help.
She said: “To see the council acknowledge the importance of raising awareness of mental health issues is a positive step forward. There is still a lot of stigma around mental health, and these appointments will help to reduce that.
“We hope the ambassadors will reach out to Mind in Kingston and other charities and community groups that provide mental health support in our local community, so we can work together to tackle mental health issues.”
The announcement comes along with the recent government appointment of the new Minister for Suicide Prevention.
The government has also promised more mental health support in schools, a “state of the nation” document to be produced every year on World Mental Health Day and an extra £1.8 million to the mental health charity, Samaritans.