The new implementation director for the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Mental Health Commission took up his role this week, on a two-year secondment from West Midlands Police.
Superintendent Sean Russell was part of the commission’s steering group, having played a key role in innovative police work around mental health in the region.
In a unique collaborative working arrangement, DCI Russell will manage delivery of an action plan that aims to make a huge difference to people with mental health problems in the region.
Supt Sean Russell has taken up his role as implementation director for the WMCA Mental Health Commission
He will also lead efforts to reduce the number of people in the region that take their own lives.
The Mental Health Commission action plan, designed to transform attitudes and services around mental health in the West Midlands, is based on evidence from across the region and beyond, from both practitioners and people with personal experience of mental health issues and services.
The action plan aims to help people with mental health problems stay in employment while stemming the flow into the criminal justice system and focusing on the importance of good-quality housing.
DCI Russell said: “I am so excited to be starting this work, which I believe is both a genuine opportunity and a real challenge for the region to start to think about what we do around mental health.
“This is a huge issue and something that really does touch practically everyone and has a major impact when things go wrong.
“I want the community and public services to work together to get rid of the stigma and make people think about it differently and then we really can improve the wellbeing of our region.”
The Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP, chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority Mental Health Commission, said: “We really are fortunate to have Sean in this post.
“He has already been a driving force in the commission and I am looking forward to working even more closely with him now to really press ahead with this extremely important work.”
WMCA lead for mental health Cllr Pete Lowe said: “I am very pleased the combined authority has worked so successfully with the police to arrange this secondment for DCI Russell.
“He brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this role, having played a major part in the police mental health triage scheme.
“This kind of public sector collaboration reflects the innovative attitude of the combined authority as well as the mental health commission’s drive to explore better ways of working in this field.”
The WMCA Mental Health Commission action plan aims to help people with mental health problems stay in employment while stemming the flow into the criminal justice system and focusing on the importance of good-quality housing.