Brian Paddick reveals his 'State of Mind'
The State of Mind : young Londoners' manifesto for mental health was produced by a group of young people from all over London who have come together with a common goal – to improve mental health.
Collaborators include Right Here Newham, The Peer Outreach Team at the Greater London Authority and YoungMinds VIK project.
As part of the manifesto project, we are seeking to engage with London’s decision makers to make young people’s voice heard. Today was our first meeting with a Mayoral candidate - Brian Paddick, former Deputy Assistant Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police, one time ‘I’m a Celebrity’ contestant, and current Liberal Democrat London Mayoral candidate.
Brian has been very open in the past about his own struggles with depression stemming from his time in the Metropolitan Police around the time of the Jean Charles de Menezes shooting. He clearly has a passion for the issue as his candour with us showed.
We were able to talk to Brian about how mental health isn’t just about mental illness and that we are all on a continuum with positive and happy at one end, severe mental illness at the other end and content and struggling to cope somewhere on the scale in between. This seemed to really strike a chord with Brian and he confessed that he hadn’t thought of mental health that way but it made sense to him.
Young Londoners are under incredible stress
The conversation turned to the pressures young people face and stigma surrounding mental health. Brian said that he thought young people in London today were under incredible stress with the lack of job opportunities, cuts to youth services and the constant pressure to look and act a certain way. “It’s no wonder young people are suffering more problems with mental health,” said Brian.
We had two asks going in to the meeting that we wanted to make of Brian. First, if he becomes Mayor we want him, as Chair of the London Health Improvement Board, to make mental health a London-wide priority. Second, we want him to include a segment on children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing in his manifesto for 2012. Brian agreed to take these forward and actually surprised us with a request of his own – a joint visit to a centre that offers best practice around mental health and wellbeing for young people.
Keeping up the pressure
It’s a slow process lobbying to get ‘State of Mind’ implemented but the first of our mayoral candidates meetings was another great step in the right direction.
In the New Year we have a meeting scheduled with Jenny Jones AM, Green Party candidate. We are currently liaising with Labour Party candidate Ken Livingstone’s team and have received a response from Boris Johnson as Mayor of London. We will keep you updated on the campaign trail!