Making sure everyone in Kirklees knows they are not alone

Kirklees Council’s Cabinet has approved plans to deliver a range of activities across the borough so they can support local people experiencing mental health issues.

Many community groups have said they need to know how to help people if they are struggling with mental health issues – something which has become more prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cross-party councillors across Kirklees’ seven Place Partnerships – Dewsbury, Batley, Birstall and Birkenshaw, Colne Valley, Huddersfield Central, Huddersfield North, Huddersfield Rural and Spen Valley – all have decided to allocate a proportion of their budget to develop Mental Health initiatives.

Some of this funding will support voluntary organisations with some initial training and ongoing support, that will help them to be able to identify mental health issues, to support people as their initial point of contact, and to sign post them for further support. In other projects we will see tackling the Taboo, supporting women going through Menopause. There are other preventative approaches for addressing mental health issues in allowing access to green spaces, reducing the number of adults feeling lonely and socially isolated.

On 18 November 2020, Kirklees Council’s Cabinet agreed that all the projects presented demonstrated the need for support. Funding will be taken from the £1million budget already allocated by the Council to the seven Place Partnerships in Kirklees to support local mental health initiatives whilst also supporting and building local voluntary/community capacity.

Across each Place Partnership area, the lead organisation will be a Community Group or Anchor Organisation that has worked together with Kirklees Council since April 2020 to support the community response to COVID-19. These organisations are well placed to engage and work with community groups to deliver the mental health training project as they have both built good working relationships with community organisations when coordinating the response to the challenges of the pandemic.

Councillor Cathy Scott, Cabinet Member for Democracy and Housing, said:

“We’re still in a crucial stage of the COVID-19 pandemic and whilst we must continue to do everything we can to keep each other safe and prevent the spread of the virus, we have to ensure that we’re not neglecting mental health.

This has been a difficult and challenging period for everyone, particularly now as we have entered lockdown again and are unable to meet with our loved ones from other households. COVID-19 has added to people’s anxieties and loneliness in a number of ways, with the financial and social impacts it has had on our everyday lives.

Local community groups and voluntary organisations have been a key part of our fight against the virus and the role they are playing in supporting residents is invaluable. They have reported a growing number of concerns for the mental health of local people and we need to make sure everyone knows they are not alone and are able to find the right support, at the right time, in the right place.

Giving our community organisations the knowledge and resource to help those that need it, will be a crucial way of supporting our residents through this difficult time. I’m delighted that councillors from across all political parties have come together to support this initiate which ultimately could save lives.

We’ll be announcing more details on this programme in the coming weeks so community groups know how to get involved.”