Lambeth and Southwark boroughs lead the ‘Wellbeing Programme’ so more individuals and organisations can take action to improve their own and others’ wellbeing. The programme has been in existence in Lambeth from 2009 building on the work of an earlier Mental Health Promotion Strategy. It became a cross borough programme in 2013.
The programme operates on three levels:
People know the messages about eating five fruit and vegetables a day and the importance of exercising but are less clear on action that can be taken to look after their minds and emotional health. The programme disseminates information and resources about the ‘five ways to wellbeing’ and other mental health literacy materials and signposting to local support for a range of issues that impact on wellbeing eg. www.wheelofwellbeing.org A campaign was delivered to older people in Southwark using the ‘five ways’ messaging to reduce social isolation by encouraging them to phone a service that would signpost on to opportunities to learn new skills and make friends.
The programme aims to build capability and capacity within communities to improve wellbeing. There is a small grants scheme to enable the voluntary and community sector to lead projects on wellbeing. Community engagement work takes place to improve mental health literacy and reduce stigma eg www.brixtonreel.co.uk There is a Spiritual and Pastoral Care course that works with faith communities to strengthen their role in promoting wellbeing and supporting people with mental health issues. Mental Health First Aid and STORM suicide awareness courses are available and support is given to the public sector to ensure the workforce has adequate skills in mental health and wellbeing. A wellbeing network provides forums for organisations and individuals to get involved with the programme and receive regular bulletins on resources, funding and training opportunities.
Policy and Strategy:
All policy and service areas and a wide range of agencies have a contribution to make. We have been using Mental Wellbeing Impact Asesssment principles (MWIA) to take a more evidence based approach to policy making, commissioning and service redesign. MWIA has been carried out on a range of projects including; Thames Tidal Tunnel, Economic Strategy, Camberwell Green and Nine Elms Vauxhall regeneration work.
Here’s the Southwark version. Both Lambeth and Southwark use the short Warwick Edinburgh scale in their residents’ survey work. The purpose of this is to capture changes in wellbeing and factors that affect it, be a guide for policy makers, commissioners, residents and those who wish to seek investment to work on wellbeing. We are currently working on a joint factsheet on suicide and another is planned on social relationships.