A programme of citywide and local activities is demonstrably having a positive impact on the mental health of Londoners, as outlined in a new report published today. The progress being made through Thrive LDN, the citywide movement launched in July 2017 to improve mental health and wellbeing, will be shared with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and leaders from the NHS and borough councils today.
Thrive LDN is one of many initiatives to improve mental health across the globe. Cities such as New York, Toronto, Edinburgh, Barcelona and many more have been leading new ways of improving the wellbeing of citizens and to tackle the inequalities and challenges that can lead to poor mental health. Two million Londoners experience some form of poor mental health every year. One in six adults living or working in the capital experienced a common mental health problem in the last week alone. Suicide is the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 34 and every week around 12 Londoners take their own lives. These shocking and sad statistics were the reason that the Mayor and other London organisations and institutions created Thrive LDN, in an attempt to work alongside Londoners to improve awareness and encourage more action around mental health.
Philip Glanville, the Mayor of Hackney and co-lead of the Thrive LDN movement, presented an evaluation of progress at a London Health Board meeting on Wednesday 8 January 2020.
Mayor Glanville said: “Poor mental health remains one of the biggest challenges facing London; it impacts everyone living, working and studying here. Sadly, Londoners who live on the lowest incomes face the most inequalities and fewer opportunities and are at a higher risk of poor mental health. Thrive LDN has found a way of bringing a range of communities together to explore ways of empowering Londoners to improve their mental wellbeing and build strength and resilience. It’s a complex challenge that is best tackled by London’s public services, charities, businesses and citizens working together to make change happen in a way that best works for all Londoners.
“This interim report highlights Thrive LDN’s progress by putting people and
communities in the lead and developing meaningful relationships at a London, multi-borough and community level. The findings highlight the positive difference council and NHS leaders are making by sharing resources and collectively funding a programme of citywide and local activities. But, this is the tip of the iceberg, we encourage more people and organisations to get involved and take action to ensure every Londoner has the opportunity to thrive.”
Since Thrive LDN launched, the movement has grown and spread across the city. During 2019, more than 200,000 people have taken part in over 550 events linked to Thrive LDN. A Young London Inspired grants scheme has awarded 32 grants in total to voluntary and community organisations to create volunteering and social action opportunities for young Londoners aged 10-20 at risk of poor mental health. The report states that 63% of young people reported improved wellbeing as a result. Similarly, a Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) programme has trained 101 new Youth MHFA Instructors and delivered Youth MHFA training in every London borough to more than 1,300 education staff. Schools and colleges are participating in the Thrive LDN movement to play a role in the prevention of poor mental health and promotion of wellbeing for this and future generations.
The Thrive LDN Suicide Prevention Group is made up of 36 organisations and 48 members who are undertaking several citywide projects. This includes the Thrive LDN Suicide Prevention Information Sharing Hub which will increase understanding and knowledge for agencies involved when a person takes their own life.
The citywide #ZeroSuicideLDN campaign has seen more than 35,000 Londoners take the Zero Suicide Alliance’s free, online suicide prevention training to break the stigma of talking about suicide, suicidal thoughts and suicide bereavement. The aim is to get 100,000 Londoners trained by September. The campaign is supported by the London FA, Metropolitan and British Transport Police, the NHS, all London Councils, London Fire Brigade and many more. The London FA, alongside professional teams such as Tottenham Hotspur and Millwall, are supporting the campaign by encouraging players and fans to take the free training online.
Dr Jacqui Dyer MBE, Mental Health Equalities Champion for NHS England and Thrive LDN Co-Lead said, said: “Since we launched Thrive LDN, I have been overwhelmed by the response, willingness and involvement of Londoners to create positive change in their communities. At a time when young Londoners in particular are facing negativity and challenges, we should pause, recognise and celebrate the leadership they have shown through Thrive LDN. I’m delighted this Insights Report shows we are making progress, but we have a very long way to go. We need to maintain an open conversation with Londoners to encourage everyone to think, talk and act more when it comes to mental wellbeing. Getting this right is crucial for our aim to support many more communities to lead healthier, happier lives.”
If you would like to read the full report or find about more about Thrive LDN, visit www.thriveldn.co.uk.