What did Londoners say about mental health?

The Mental Health Foundation has been instrumental in bringing the ‘Thrive’ approach of tackling the causes of mental ill health in cities to the UK.

Today the Foundation, in partnership with Thrive LDN, launches the Londoners Said report, distilling over 1,000 conversations about what would better support people in the capital to live happier, healthier lives.

This marks a great step forward in our efforts to truly involve citizens in decision making about how communities can work better for everyone.

It is an approach the Foundation is also working with others across the UK on including a formal partnership with Thrive West Midlands.

In July 2017 London Mayor Sadiq Khan launched Thrive LDN to improve the ‘health and happiness’ of Londoners by addressing the causes of mental ill health.

The Mental Health Foundation were commissioned to map London boroughs according to a number of factors that indicated the level of mental health inequalities in that area. The research was subsequently published in Lancet Psychiatry.

Prioritising the boroughs most in need the Foundation and Thrive LDN then designed and delivered a series of community conversations bringing together residents, service providers, commissioners, charities and businesses.

In all we held 17 of these conversations in half of all the London boroughs with over 1,000 Londoners, who told us how we could best work together to deliver Thrive LDN’s six aspirations which had, themselves, been co-produced with London citizens and experts.

Thrive LDN aspirations

  • A city where individuals and communities take the lead
  • A city free from mental health stigma and discrimination
  • A city that maximises the potential of children and young people
  • A city with a happy, healthy and productive workforce
  • A city with service that are there when, and where needed
  • A zero suicide city

The solutions those Londoners came up with share common themes – namely, to spread knowledge, skills and support so that people can better look after themselves and their neighbours. 

Londoners have told us they don’t want or need top-down fixes – instead, they want the tools and networks to do it for themselves. This report provides insights and feedback from each of the community conversations held. Recommendations have been developed for all partners and supporters of Thrive LDN to consider.

We believe this process of community consultation and the recommendations below can be used elsewhere in the UK and we would welcome the chance to work with other communities elsewhere in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You can sign up to receive Thrive LDN updates here and we would welcome your feedback and response to the ideas set out below.

Londoners Said recommendations

  1.  Develop, train and support a network of community champions to tackle isolation, link people to each other and services and deliver community mental health training.
  2. Create, or add-on to existing technological platforms, a way of effectively informing people about what support, activities and services are available in their community.
  3. Produce a guide linking and integrating London mental health and other services, like social care and housing support, to create a whole-person approach.
  4. Support the development of non-clinical crisis and other wellbeing centres like Mosaic Clubhouses and the Leeds Crisis House.
  5. Give parents, particularly those from under-privileged backgrounds, the skills and support they need to give their children the best start through peer-parenting groups.
  6. Create a mental health curriculum for schools that focuses on prevention rather than diagnosis of illness and that recognises the diversity of London’s children.
  7. Invest in after-school clubs that support young people to look after their mental health, develop better decision-making processes and meet role models.
  8. Provide a toolkit and training for employers enabling them to better support the mental health of London workers.
  9. Work in local communities to prevent isolation and build connections as a first step in suicide prevention.
  10. Encourage the 16 London boroughs and the City of London who have not yet had a community conversations to organise one.