Michael Lilley with Benson at Appley Park April 2024

MICHAEL LILLEY

Prospective
Parliamentary Candidate

Liberal Democrat branding white text with yellow bird

Isle of Wight East

MICHAEL LILLEY

Michael Lilley with Benson at Appley Park April 2024

Isle of Wight East

Prospective Parliamentary Candidate

Liberal Democrat branding white text with yellow bird

MICHAEL LILLEY

Michael Lilley with Benson at Appley Park April 2024

Isle of Wight East

Prospective
Parliamentary
Candidate

Liberal Democrat branding white text with yellow bird

13th-18th May 2024

Mental Health Awareness Week | Mental Health Foundation

Councillor Michael Lilley advocates for peer-support self-help groups during Mental Health Awareness Week (onthewight.com)

Mental Health Awareness Week is an opportunity to celebrate innovation and creativity by those who daily experience the realities of depression, anxiety, loneliness and isolation. It is a good time to reflect and highlight the work that has been achieved on the Isle of Wight.

Today (13th May) I am speaking at an event in the South-East region on how I as a councillor in a unitary authority (Isle of Wight) raise mental health awareness and particularly make sure residents have a strong voice in the planning and delivery of services. I am particularly focusing on peer-support self-help groups and their importance role.

Mentally Healthier Councils Network – South East Launch Event – Centre for Mental Health

“I am speaking at an event in the South-East region on how as a councillor in a unitary authority (Isle of Wight) raises mental health awareness and particularly make sure residents have a strong voice in the planning and delivery of services. I am particularly focusing on peer-support self-help groups and their importance role. It was in 2017, that I successfully put forward a motion for IW Council to sign up to the LGA and Centre for Mental Health’s Mental Health Challenge.

For me, our mental-well-being has to be at the centre of all policies and agendas as if we are not happy, depressed, anxious, lonely and depressed then something is seriously wrong. It is normal to have ups and downs in life but when the downs are severely more than the ups then something needs to change and we need to be brave and ask for help.

Peer-support groups such as IW Youth Trust mental health taskforce, Men-Only IW, and Ventnor Well-Being Cafe provide help from people like ourselves who have been through down times and come out the other side.”

I have annually raised the issues of mental health since 2017 (since elected) through roles as IWC Mental Health Champion and Chair/Vice Chair of IWC Policy and Scrutiny Committee of Health and Social Care and have kept mental health at the top of the political agenda on the Isle of Wight. I work closely with IW Health Watch who have had mental health as a top priority (voted through surveys by Island residents annually) Join the Mental Health and Wellbeing Conversation | Healthwatch Isle of Wight

I regularly visit local projects and MH services and last week with IW Health Watch visited NHS Psychiatric Services and particularly Afton Ward at Seven Acres Hospital. The ward is for up to 8 elderly patients with acute MH problems and dementia. As part of Mental Health Awareness Week and celebration of its theme this year movement (importance of physical activity for good mental well-being) I am joining a group of residents and councillors on a walk and talk.

Long History in Mental Health

In 2013, when I returned to the Isle of Wight after nearly 4 decades, I was still working as a mental health professional and a director of a national mental health charity. I was able to reach out and link my work in the West Midlands and London to the Island.

My life-time’s work was championing the voice of those with lived experience of mental health services. I actively worked in the Island voluntary sector to try and transform services which led to a peer-led model of working.

I became a trustee of IW Youth Trust Home | IOW Youth Trust and initiated mental health staff teams to work together with their service users in redesigning services. The My Time approach which I pioneered in the Midlands was rolled out and later transformed later into the Isorropia Foundation Isorropia Foundation | Mental Health & Wellbeing Organisation I retired in 2017 and was duly elected as an IW Councillor. I went from being a psychological counsellor to being a political councillor.

I led on a IW Council Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Taskforce in 2019 and presented a report on suicide on the Island titled Suicide is Not the Answer Isle of Wight’s suicide prevention plan still ‘not fit for purpose’ believes councillor (onthewight.com)

One of my key objectives was getting community self-help groups (peer-led) to work in a synergised way with public mental health services and voluntary sector – Isle of Wight Community Mental Health (iwmentalhealth.co.uk) and Mental Health Services on the Isle of Wight (youtube.com)

I continued my mission for getting the Voice of Lived Experience through by putting successfully a motion to IW Council to sign up the Centre for Mental Health and Local Government Association’s Mental Health Challenge – Sign up to the Mental Health Challenge | Local Government Association in 2017, and later through Public Health grants Grants to support mental wellbeing (iow.gov.uk) support over 28 peer-led projects across the Island including this film below made by Isle Access with young people.

The 28 projects interlink through a public and voluntary sector network – IW Mental Health Alliance and I have encourage continually for sector joined up working and improved communication with active involvement of residents and families.

Mental health and wellbeing (iow.gov.uk)

Other example projects include:

Veteran’s Hub and Hotel https://www.countypress.co.uk/news/23607595.isle-wight-pub-hotel-veterans-bbc-one-show/ and The Veterans Hub Isle of Wight CIC (veteranshubiow.co.uk)

Ventnor Well-Being CaféVentnor Well-Being Café – Ventnor Town Council

Community Spirited (East Cowes)Community Spirited

Men Only IWMens Mental Health | Men Only Isle Of Wight | Ryde (menonlyiow.co.uk)

The Future

The sad reality post-Covid19, more and more Islanders are accessing services due to mental health issues especially as we continue a cost-of-living crisis and my overall aim is to continue highlighting the issues and getting the voice of lived experience heard.

Mental Health Services on the Isle of Wight are continually in transformation and there is a constant need to make sure the voices of residents are clearly heard.

One of the hidden assets of the Island is its environment of Blue and Green Space. The World Health Organisation’s Report on Mental Well-Being highlights Green and Blue spaces – 9789289055666-eng.pdf (who.int) and I plan to bring all partners and stakeholders together to explore how the Island’s natural assets can be used to improve mental well-being on the Island.

Lib Dems’ Plan to Improve Mental Health Care

As a Lib Dem IW Councillor and a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for East Wight improving mental health services on the Isle of Wight is a priority.

End Mental Health Injustice – Liberal Democrats (libdems.org.uk)

Taking a Stand for Mental Health – Liberal Democrats (libdems.org.uk)

I have campaigned and advocated improvements and have a strong track record of achievement in implementing Lib Dem policy on mental health. The key for me is taking further action.

A Fair Deal for Mental Health:

  • Walk-In Centres for Young People – Role out community mental health hubs for children and young people in every area of the country, to provide early prevention and support.
  • I was a clinical trustee of IW Youth Trust for many years and supported them to grow to not supply counselling services for young people but develop a range of service. The IWYT Mental Health Taskforce (young people themselves) has led the charity to develop a range of innovative services – Youth Taskforce | IOW Youth Trust
     
  • A Mental Health Practitioner in Every School – Provide dedicated, qualified mental health practitioners to every school and roll out a national wellbeing survey in secondary schools, along the lines of the ‘Bee Well’ pilot currently being run in Greater Manchester.
  • The Isle of Wight had one of the first school based MH support programmes in the UK and the IW Youth Trust’s Young People led Taskforce led in developing the IW Model. MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT TEAMS TO EXPAND TO ALL ISLAND SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES – Island Echo – 24hr news, 7 days a week across the Isle of Wight
     
  • Mental Health MOT – Check ups at key points in people’s lives when they are most vulnerable to mental ill-health.
     
  • End Out of Area Placements – Increase capacity and coordination between mental health services so that no one is treated far from home.
     
  • Expand Young People’s Mental Health Services Up to the Age of 25 – Rapidly expand effective and age-appropriate mental health support beyond the age of 18 so that all under 25 year olds are able to access mental health support when they need it.

Cllr LIlley Media References on Mental Health

LGA Mental Health Challenge 2017

Isle of Wight’s Mental Health Challenge being led by local Councillors (onthewight.com)

Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

Isle of Wight voices call for change during Mental Health Awareness Week (onthewight.com)

Fighting Closures of Mental Health Day Centres including report on Suicide Not the Answer 2019

‘Voice of the people’ on mental health issues ‘not being heard’ says councillor (onthewight.com)

IWC Public Health MH Grants 2021-23

£50,000 in grants available for community-based mental health initiatives on the Isle of Wight (onthewight.com)

Prof Whitty Report 2021 on Health and Well-Being in Coastal Communities

Funding needed to help improve health and wellbeing of Isle of Wight residents says Cllr Lilley (onthewight.com)

Mental Health Tour

Dads and support they need the focus of International Men’s Day (onthewight.com)

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