The emerging West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Mental Health Commission is working hard to understand the impact poor mental health and wellbeing has on public services. As part of its work, it is setting up a Mental Health Commission Citizens’ Jury and is looking to recruit local people who have experienced mental health issues and who are willing to share their thoughts and opinions.
The group of around 20 people will meet for eight sessions in a relaxed atmosphere to try and answer the question ‘how can public services help to build wellbeing and keep people mentally well in the West Midlands?’
Pete Bryant, from Shared Future, the community interest company that is organising the Jury, said:
“Around one in four people in the UK experience mental health problems in any given year and one in ten young people will experience mental health problems before they reach adulthood.
“This is a challenge for the public services that are provided to local people. So our commission is looking at the role mental health plays in driving demand for those services and whether by trying to tackle poor mental health we can help build a better life for people, as well as reduce our spending in the long run.
“We are looking to recruit a diverse group of 20 people who will share life stories and experiences and who will contribute to creating regional recommendations for the Mental Health Commission panel that is chaired by Norman Lamb MP.”
In recognition of the time spent as part of the Citizens’ Jury, all participants will receive £20 worth of gift vouchers for each session. It is hoped the Jury will include people who have not taken part in any kind of consultation type activity before. The first four sessions will be held in March and the last four will be in May.
Councillor Darren Cooper, lead member for the Mental Health Commission, said:
“Poor mental health has a real impact on personal wellbeing for individuals and families as well as it being a significant driver of demand for public services. Our commission gives us the opportunity to improve outcomes for people as well as look at how we can deliver public services differently and that is why we need to hear from people who have experienced or indeed are currently experiencing mental health issues.”
If you are 16 years of age or over and would like to be considered for the Citizens Jury either then fill in the short form online at www.westmidlandscombinedauthority.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively complete it over the phone by calling Ajaib S. Paul (AJ) on 01384 814410.