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Better Mental Health in Chiswick is a new group launched by prospective Labour councillors in Chiswick, who were shocked by how many concerns about mental health were raised on the doorstep during the council election campaign earlier this year.
The causes of mental ill health are complex, but it is clear that high levels of stress, insecure employment and housing, debt and family breakdown all play a role. Young people face exam pressures, worsening life chances and the massive presence of social media in their lives. And loneliness is a problem across the generations. It is no wonder mental health is becoming more important for Chiswick people.
But while the need for mental health services has been growing, the local NHS is struggling and waiting times in our borough are often far too long. Meanwhile the council has had its grant from central government slashed by 40% since 2010, impacting other vital services for the local community.
Although the Labour vote across Chiswick rose significantly in May, none of the group was elected this time. But they all remain committed to working with and for local people on issues of concern, including mental health.
Better Mental Health in Chiswick aims to raise the profile of mental health locally. As a first project to mark World Mental Health Day on Wednesday 10 October the group is working with Chiswick Library to put on a week- long  display about the Five Ways to Wellbeing, using material generously provided by Mind.  Research has shown that simple steps like connecting with other people; being active; noticing; learning, and giving can all help strengthen mental health and resilience.
The group is already working with Mind, the Hounslow Wellbeing Network and Mental Health Mates and wants to hear from everyone interested in improving mental wellbeing and mental health services across Chiswick.
Sally Malin, Labour candidate, Chiswick Riverside Ward, said:
“Mental ill health and loneliness are growing problems in Chiswick. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if together we could develop a programme of events to help keep people in good heart?”
Cllr Sue Sampson, Cabinet Member for Leisure Services, said:
“Libraries have an important role to play in bringing people together and building local connections. I welcome the Five Ways to Wellbeing exhibition at Chiswick Library where groups like Knit and Natter are already providing an opportunity for people to make new friends and share practical skills.”
John Stroud-Turp, Labour candidate, Turnham Green Ward, said:
“If you are free on Wednesday 10 October between 10 and 4, do come and chat with us to share your views about mental health in Chiswick, and your ideas about activities in Chiswick that could help people use the Five Ways to Wellbeing approach.

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