We know this time of year can be particularly tricky to manage for children and young people with eating disorders – and their parents and carers – given the heightened focus on food as part of festive celebrations.
Healthy London Partnership and London’s three Children and Young People’s Mental Health Inpatient Provider Collaboratives have been working with Beat, the UK’s Eating Disorder charity, to ensure that parents and carers have access to high-quality support so they can best support their loved ones. Beat offer a range of free support for anyone caring for a child or young adult, which can be in addition to any specialist services they are already accessing.
Support for parents and carers across London
Any parent or carer across London can access Beat support, including those whose children and young people have not been referred into an eating disorder service or Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
Visit Beat’s website for more information or to sign up to a service. Parents and carers can also call Beat’s helpline on: 0808 801 0677 where the team will answer any questions and work with them to ensure that they are on the best programme for their needs.
See our latest work on children and young people’s eating disorders here.
More than 1.3 million people have participated in events and activities to improve mental health and tackle inequalities as part of the Thrive LDN movement since 2017.
Highlights positive results of meaningful relationships and interventions developed at a London, multi-borough and community or local level.
‘We can’t overlook the huge challenges in recent years which makes the public mental health agenda even more important’ says Thrive LDN’s leadership.
London’s public mental health partnership, Thrive LDN, today marks its fifth anniversary.
Since launching on 4 July 2017, more than 1.3 million people have participated in events and activities to improve mental health and tackle inequalities as part of the Thrive LDN partnership. The participatory approach to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of Londoners has demonstrably had a positive impact, say Thrive LDN leadership.
Two million Londoners experience some form of poor mental health every year. Suicide is the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 34 and every week around 12 Londoners take their own lives. There are many communities in London who are at higher risk of unfair treatment based on their identity, beliefs, or social class, and in some cases a combination of these.
These shocking and sad statistics were the reason the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the London Health Board partners launched Thrive LDN, to work alongside Londoners to improve awareness and encourage more action around mental health and health inequalities.
Commenting on Thrive LDN reaching five years, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “When we launched Thrive LDN in 2017, no one could have foreseen the scale of the strains and pressures Londoners would have to face in the coming years. The pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis have had an unprecedented impact on the mental health and wellbeing of people across the capital. I want to pay tribute to Thrive LDN for the vital support they continue to provide to so many Londoners as we recover from the pandemic and work to build a better London for everyone – a happier, healthier and fairer city for all.”
Since Thrive LDN launched, the movement has grown and spread across the city. The Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) programme has trained more than 100 new Youth MHFA Instructors and delivered Youth MHFA training to more than 4,000 education and youth sector staff citywide. Schools and colleges are working with Thrive LDN to play a role in the prevention of poor mental health and promotion of wellbeing for this and future generations.
The Thrive LDN Suicide Prevention Group is made up of 36 organisations and 48 members who are undertaking several citywide projects. This includes the development of Thrive LDN’s Suicide Prevention Information Sharing Hub which allows vital information to be securely shared to enable effective bereavement support and helps increase understanding and knowledge for agencies involved when a person takes their own life.
The Right to Thrive initiative has created a broad range of partnerships and grant funded nearly £300,000 to 36 grassroot projects which collectively aim to support those communities and groups most likely to experience poor mental health to amplify their voices, share power and leadership, and address some of the health equity issues they are facing.
The citywide #ZeroSuicideLDN campaign has seen more than 300,000 Londoners take the Zero Suicide Alliance’s free, online suicide prevention training to break the stigma of talking about suicide, suicidal thoughts and suicide bereavement. The campaign continues to be supported by the London FA, Metropolitan and British Transport Police, the NHS, all London Councils, London Fire Brigade and many more.
Earlier this year, on Friday 28 January, London hosted the first ever Great Mental Health Day across the region. The day saw Londoners and community groups sharing ideas and ways in which they are supporting their own wellbeing or others in their community or neighbourhoods. Close to 10,000 people accessed the interactive map of London on Thrive LDN’s website to find out what is going on in their area. Thrive LDN will facilitate the next Great Mental Health Day on behalf of regional partners in January 2023.
Councillor Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Leader of Islington Borough Council, was recently appointed as Thrive LDN Co-Lead, succeeding Mayor Philip Glanville. Cllr Comer-Schwartz said: “Thrive LDN is one of the capital’s flagship health initiatives. As we mark five years, thank you to everyone who has been part of this movement so far.
“I’m excited to join the Thrive LDN leadership team at this crucial stage when the public mental health agenda has never been more important. I’m conscious of the task ahead of us, we are only at the beginning of this journey.
“There is substantial evidence that the coronavirus pandemic has simultaneously widened pre-existing inequalities whilst creating new ones, such as problem debt, rising unemployment or structural inequalities. We can’t overlook the many other huge challenges and pressures on Londoners which makes this even more important.
“By working together and supporting each other, I’m confident we can build a city where every Londoner feels supported to thrive.”
Commenting on the fifth anniversary, Thrive LDN director, Dan Barrett, who supported the launch of the partnership in July 2017 said: “In 2017, things began with a series of open discussions with Londoners – to encourage everyone to think, talk and act more when it comes to mental wellbeing. Five years on from these initial community conversations, there has been real progress, demonstrating that we can achieve great things when we work together. Of course, there is still much more for us to learn and do but we believe our foundations and purpose are stronger than ever.
“Thrive LDN exists to drive and facilitate change. As we emerge from the coronavirus crisis, we must continue to put people and communities in the lead, allowing us to develop meaningful and trusted relationships at a London, multi-borough and community level. Doing so will allow us to support the wellbeing and resilience of all Londoners who need help and support now and beyond the pandemic.
“We look forward to continuing to work with partners inside and outside of health and care systems to find new ways of reaching, involving, and supporting Londoners to improve mental health and prevent a decline in wellbeing.”
Thrive LDN is one of many initiatives to improve mental health across the globe. Cities such as New York, Toronto, Edinburgh, Barcelona and many more have been leading new ways of improving the wellbeing of citizens and to tackle the inequalities and challenges that can lead to poor mental health. Explore Thrive LDN’s activities and events at www.thiveldn.co.uk.
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
Thrive LDN is a citywide public mental health partnership to ensure all Londoners have an equal opportunity for good mental health and wellbeing. Launched publicly by the Mayor of London and the London Health Board partners in 2017, Thrive LDN has evolved and grown significantly in the past five years. More information can be found at thriveldn.co.uk.
Two million Londoners experience some form of poor mental health every year and Londoners’ life satisfaction and feelings of self-worth are lower than the national average. Thrive LDN was established in response to this, with the aim of reducing the number of Londoners affected by poor mental health.
In July 2017, Thrive LDN launched Thrive LDN: towards happier, healthier lives (2017), a summary of work engaging with hundreds of experts by profession and by experience across London’s public, charitable and business sectors to identify what would make a difference to Londoners’ mental health and wellbeing.
Thrive LDN’s campaign, Are we OK London?, started an open conversation with Londoners about mental health and wellbeing. As a result, it generated over 420,000 interactions and are now working with partners on several citywide and local projects across London. Thrive LDN also held community workshops, in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation, in 17 of the 32 London boroughs to start conversations on a community level.
Thrive LDN’s 2018 campaign engaged with a more diverse audience, grew our followers and subscribers and increased discussion and action around how inequality and discrimination can affect Londoners’ mental health and wellbeing, with a potential reach of over 23 million people. The campaign culminated with a festival of cultural activity organised by young Londoners.
Also in 2019, Thrive LDN began leading the #ZeroSuicideLDN campaign with support from the Mayor, the NHS in London, London Councils, London’s police forces, Transport for London, and other emergency services, such as London Fire Brigade and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, alongside voluntary and community groups, such as Mind in Haringey, and many others. For more information visit thriveldn.co.uk/zerosuicideldn.
Since 2020, Thrive LDN has awarded nearly £300,000 to 36 community and grassroot projects across London to help support the mental health and wellbeing of those who are experiencing higher levels of unfair treatment and discrimination through its Right to Thrive initiative.
In March 2020, Thrive LDN was asked to lead the regional coordination of the public mental health response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Thrive LDN developed a response plan and agreed business cases with health and social care partners. Between April 2020 and March 2021 more than 685,000 people took part in projects, events, and activities on which Thrive LDN has led or collaborated on.
In May 2021, the London Health and Care Leaders’ Group commissioned the Thrive LDN Advisory Group to undertake a comprehensive review of regional public mental health across three main areas:
Review available public mental health research and insights.
Review the strategic and policy landscape to identify opportunities and levers for collective action around public mental health.
Review the public mental health literature to define how we can collectively approach and achieve change.
Most importantly, in response to the above, Thrive LDN developed a series of actions where opportunities could be maximised in the short, medium and long term. Subsequently, the Towards Happier, Healthier Lives (2021) report was endorsed by the London Health Board in November 2021.
On Friday, 28 January 2022, Thrive LDN supported the facilitation of London’s first ever Great Mental Health Day. On the whole, Great Mental Health Day was a huge success and provides a strong platform for us to collectively build upon:
Close to 10,000 people accessed the interactive map of London on Thrive LDN’s website to find out what is going on in their area.
On the day, there were more than 750 individual tweets using #GreatMentalHealth and more than 20,000 video views on Thrive LDN channels alone.
More than 60 events took place across almost every borough in London, many of which were held in person, involving local walks, coffee mornings and workshops.
More recently, Thrive LDN has supported the public mental health response to emerging crises on behalf of the region, from the pandemic to the climate emergency, to the current cost-of-living crisis, to geopolitical crises in Afghanistan, Hong Kong, and Ukraine. All these crises are putting pressure on Londoners and creating devastating mental health consequences of wider inequalities, disproportionately affecting Londoners with lived experiences of marginalisation and disadvantage.
People experiencing homelessness are among the most vulnerable and isolated in our society, with the poorest health outcomes. Traditional systems of health and care often struggle to meet their needs. Consequently, they are more likely to die young, with an average age of death of 45 for men and 43 for women (ONS, 2019).
Healthy London Partnership works with our regional partners with the aim of improving access to healthcare and the capacity and capability of the system to respond to the needs of people who are homeless, to improve their health and reduce their hospital admissions.
Browse this playlist of podcast episodes exploring homelessness and health, produced by the Healthy London Partnership Homeless Health programme team.
Personality disorders have been called the most misunderstood mental health condition. They have a legacy of confusion and controversy around diagnosis, language, what it means and how it impacts on individuals, even what they should be called.
Yet it is estimated that worldwide, around 8% of the general population report having complex emotional needs These figures rise to around 25% of people accessing primary care services and 50% accessing community mental health services will experience symptoms or behaviours related to the formally diagnosed.
This podcast series talks to people living with them – aiming to raise hope and understanding.
Good Thinking supports Londoners to look after their mental health and wellbeing in a way that works for them. Since its launch in 2017, more than half a million people have used our digital service to tackle anxiety, stress, low mood, sleep problems and other concerns.
Their podcast series captures the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of Londoners directly or indirectly affected by coronavirus. They ask them about the approaches they are taking to stay mentally well and share with you top tips on what you can do to stay mentally healthy.
The START team is a Community Mental Health Team for people sleeping rough in Southwark, Lambeth and Croydon. Dr Jenny Drife has been the Consultant Psychiatrist in the team since 2016.
Loneliness makes everything harder
In our community mental health team (CMHT) for people sleeping rough, loneliness is something we see every day. The woman whose paranoia has led her to abandon her hometown, and who hopes setting up camp in a South London park will keep her safe. The man who has travelled from his war-torn country plagued by symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, unable to speak English or explain his distress. The teenager who has suffered abuse and neglect from childhood and drifted into a life of drug use and self-harm. Often, it can seem that the one thing our clients have in common is that they are alone.
Unfortunately, being alone makes everything harder. Asking for help, even when surrounded by a loving family or friends, can be difficult. Struggles with mental health and substance misuse can make reaching out even more tough. Left alone, it’s much easier to listen to the internal voices, withdraw into a depressive episode, or seek solace in drugs or alcohol.
Reconnecting people can have lasting impact
A lot of our work centres around relationship-building. We meet our clients on the streets and do what we can to establish a connection, gradually building up trust by trying to help meet their individual needs – be that with a cup of coffee, helping with benefits paperwork, or with medication. It can be slow and tedious work. If we get up at 6am to go on outreach, we know that there’s a high chance we won’t find the person we’re looking for, or that we’ll be told to go away. We persevere and are lucky to have a psychologist on our team who works with people from the earliest stages of their homelessness experience with us, to help them address their trauma.
Little by little, the beginnings of change emerge. Sometimes the outcomes are well beyond our hopes. Clients who have seemed the most entrenched in homelessness have made it off the streets and found peace. Perhaps the most satisfying part of the work is when we have been able to reconnect people with family they lost touch with, years or decades before.
We can do more by working together
These days it can feel as though the battles we are helping our clients to fight are getting harder. Systems are under pressure, hospital admissions are increasingly harder to achieve, waiting lists for CMHT support are long, and accommodation is in short supply so when it is offered it may be far away – meaning the networks our clients have started to form are lost.
This is a population that is extraordinarily vulnerable. In 2020-2021, 44 per cent of people sleeping rough reported a mental health support need, 29 per cent needed support around alcohol use, and 31 per cent around drugs. There is a huge burden of physical ill-health, and the average age of death for a man sleeping rough is, incredibly, just 45. Mental health awareness week is not something that will enter the minds of many of our patients; they are too busy trying to survive, and may not even understand their struggles as part of a mental health issue.
However, as a society we need to be aware of this marginalised group and recognise that many will avoid or push people away because of the distress they have been subjected to by others. We need to remain hopeful that trust can grow again when people start to feel safe. We need to be aware of the extent to which mental ill-health both causes and is caused by homelessness, so that we ensure that the network of housing, health, and community organisations continue to work together to provide expert support to the most isolated.
At Healthy London Partnership we want to shift from focusing on treatment of mental health issues to prevention and helping Londoners stay emotionally, mentally and physically well at all ages. When care is required we want people to be able to easily access services and be treated promptly. We want mental and physical health needs to both be met and to ensure individuals experience high quality integrated and seamless care across all settings. Through this we aspire to eliminate the inequality in life expectancy of those with serious mental illness.
We are supporting the Mayor of London’s new citywide movement to improve mental health and wellbeing in the capital. Thrive LDN aims to encourage Londoners to step up to tackle mental health so that every person in London can live happier, healthier lives.
Everyone who lives and works in London is invited to join the movement and take action on mental health and wellbeing to make London the happiest, healthiest city in the world.
About Thrive LDN
Thrive LDN is supported by the Mayor of London and led by the London Health Board, in partnership with Greater London Authority, Healthy London Partnership, NHS England (London Region), Public Health England (London Region) and London Councils.
The movement brings together health and care leaders, residents, businesses and community and voluntary organisations to improve mental health and wellbeing in the capital.
More than two million Londoners experience some form of poor mental health every year and report a lower level of life satisfaction and self-worth than the national average. Almost 10% of children and young people living in the capital aged between five and 16 experience a mental health issue and every week two Londoners take their own lives.
In 2017, Thrive LDN launched six aspirations for the capital. These include ambitions to make London a ‘Zero Suicide’ city, the development of training for youth organisations and student societies to help improve wellbeing in young people, and the development of a new programme to raise awareness of mental health and challenge stigma and discrimination.
Since March 2020, Thrive LDN has been coordinating the public mental health response to and recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in London on behalf of the Strategic Coordination Group, Public Health England London, and wider partners.
Between April 2020 and March 2021, more than 685,000 people have taken part in projects, events and activities which the citywide movement has led or collaborated on. Just some of the activities outlined in the report include funding grassroots organisations, suicide prevention training, mental health first aid training, online webinars, sudden bereavement support, and a World Mental Health Day Festival co-developed with young Londoners.
Thrive LDN’s progress report, published on Thursday, 18 March 2021, sets out what Thrive LDN and partners have done to listen to the experiences of people whose voices are too often ignored, and respond with resources to help manage what for many Londoners has been the toughest year of their lives.
In September 2019, to mark World Suicide Prevention Day, a citywide Zero Suicide London campaign was launched by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to encourage Londoners to access free, online suicide prevention training.
Since then, more than a quarter of a million people across the capital have completed the training as part of the #ZeroSuicideLDN campaign.