Oldham Cllr Zahid Chauhan’s mental health mission is putting funding where it’s needed
Coming out of the Covid pandemic Cllr Zahid Chauhan, Cabinet Member for Health and Social made it clear that people’s mental health needed to start being looked after as seriously as their physical health.
After a series of investments and programmes to get more people the support they need, there are now real results to show from the collective efforts from around the borough.
One of 16 programmes of work that funding has been received for is Togetherall, which is a 24/7 support system for Oldham residents to use free of charge. A safe, online community where people support each other anonymously to improve mental health and wellbeing.
Since funding the launch of Togetherall for Oldham in December 2021, hundreds of Oldham residents have signed up for the service and completed wellbeing self-assessments to begin their journey to better mental wellbeing.
Togetherall is for residents age 16+, so for young people, the Mental Health in Education Team have continued to support all education settings in Oldham around the whole school and college approach to emotional health and mental wellbeing.
In the latest self-assessment completed by education settings, they found over 100 settings in Oldham now have a senior member of staff strategically responsible for the promotion of emotional health and mental wellbeing (EHMW), 70% now have EMW on their school improvement plans, highlighting the importance at a strategic level and 82% have a named governor for EHMW.
The team has been training teachers across the borough to increase their mental health understanding and confidence. There has been 1 Adult and two Youth Mental Health First Aid courses rolled out. As well as targeted mental health training to individual settings. Young people also have access to mental wellbeing support site Kooth where they can share their thoughts and feelings anonymously as part of an online community.
Cllr Zahid Chauhan said: “Over the course of the Covid pandemic it was clear that people’s mental health had been affected like never before. That’s why I’ve been so insistent on making mental wellbeing a priority for this council. It has to be taken as seriously as physical health.
“I’m proud of the amount of work we’ve done and the amount of funding that’s been put into projects to help people when they need it most. Wellbeing support is being financed like never before and this is only just the beginning of what’s planned.”