We have to build a city where all can thrive
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees writes for the Voice
OUR city is a great place to be over the summer with free cultural festivals and historical attractions not only bringing citizens but also visitors from across the country and beyond. In the past few months, we have seen engaging and exciting events including St Pauls Carnival, Bristol Pride, the Harbour Festival and the International Balloon Fiesta. But the nights are drawing in and many of us will be going back to school or work after a well-earned break. However, this transition is challenging for some. And knowing how to handle change is critical, especially for our young people.
Having worked in the NHS in mental health and wellbeing, this is and continues to be a key priority of mine. Bristol has a higher than national average rate of residents with mental ill health. This is a devastating reality and one that I am not willing to ignore. I want to ensure that we all thrive in a city that supports both our physical and mental health. Part of achieving this is promoting mental health and wellbeing with a focus on early intervention. Crucially, our schools, colleges and universities must play a role in enabling our young people to grow into resilient and confident adults.
Our daily lives may sometimes be stressful. Ensuring young people have skills to cope with this is key to preventing more serious issues in later life. The first steps involve helping them see how to talk openly about their feelings and care for themselves and others. But I will continue to push for improvements to accessing mental health services; promoting and creating positive, fun and challenging opportunities to help children and young people develop their confidence, creativity and resilience.
Thrive Bristol aims to improve mental health and wellbeing of all, with a focus on those with greatest need. The programme launched city-wide in 2018 and takes a One City approach to tackling shared challenges. Targets include eradicating mental health stigma and discrimination, rolling out Mental Health Awareness training, and creating mentally healthy schools, workplaces, homes and communities.
In fostering an environment where it is safe to speak about feelings and by building our capacity for resilience, I hope our children of the future and today will find the summer to school transition an enjoyable process.