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David Harris

Working to identify challenges and improve mental health outcomes

David Harris is transport safety and place manager for Transport for West Midlands.

Which part of the region do you live in and/or work in?

Work and live in Birmingham

Which organisation/sector/network are you representing on the Mental Health Commission?

Representing the Local Authority Sector on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority/Transport for West Midlands

How does your role relate to the mental health agenda?

There is a clear and evidence link between the transport system and quality of life. Our access to and experience of the transport system affects our everyday lives and as such our health and wellbeing including our mental health. How we plan, design, deliver and operate the transport system plays a key part in helping to create great places and enable people to live happy, productive and healthy lives.

Transport for West Midlands is currently developing the region’s new Local Transport Plan and the role of transport in health and wellbeing including mental health is an area we need to explore and get right.

What are your particular areas of passion and interest, which you aim to champion through the work of the Commission?

I’m really keen to learn and develop a better understanding of the key issues and opportunities in order that it helps me to develop good and impactful policy which benefit the people of the West Midlands.

What particular knowledge, skills & experience are you particularly seeking to ‘bring to the table’ to help to progress the work of the Commission?

I have been a transport planner for twenty years and my roles in policy and strategy development require a broad and at times deep understanding of transport’s relationship with people, place and economy. The interplay between how we have shaped our places and transports role within that is a key area of understanding and the way that transport and place have manifested and can be shaped have been and continue to be a key area of focus and interest. Whilst transport itself is not a panacea to resolve all of society's problems it is clear that it has a key play role in making lives and the places where people live them better.

I am keen to understand from others the challenges and opportunities linked to mental health to better inform the work that myself and my team do.