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Covid-19: Urgent community summit to prevent a mental health crisis

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Community leaders join forces with South London and Maudsley to take urgent action to prevent a mental health crisis caused by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Register for the summit

On Wednesday, 16 June 2021, community leaders and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust will be hosting an urgent community summit between 6-8pm to share the top priorities for a two-year action plan. 

More than 5,700 people from across all boroughs in South London have helped shape the action plan as part of the South London Listens campaign that began in November 2020. 

Whether it is dealing with the virus itself, being impacted by unemployment, feeling isolated, or the tragedy of losing a loved one, we have all had a very personal experience of living through this pandemic, and we know that it is not over yet. 

In 2020, the UK experienced the most significant decline in GDP since the 1920s1, and during the first three months of this year, 21 per cent of adults experienced depression, more than double the level in 20192. 67 per cent of young people believe that the pandemic will have a long-term adverse effect on their mental health3.  

For some of us, the impact of the pandemic may be short-lived, but for others, Covid-19 will cast a long shadow as they begin to rebuild their lives.  

South London Listens priorities and two-year action plan 

On 10 November 2020 the South London Mental Health and Community Partnership4 working with Local Authorities, the South East and South West London Integrated Care System, launched the South London Listens in partnership with the charity CitizensUK.  

This four-month listening campaign was a call to action to our diverse communities to help shape the priorities and co-produce a two-year action plan.

The response from the community has been nothing short of outstanding. Since last year, 350 community leaders have brought their communities together to talk about their personal experiences and co-design solutions to be delivered in partnership. 

More than 5,700 people have shared their stories and ideas. At the 16 June Summit, Community Leaders will present their asks around four key priority areas that have significantly impacted their communities mental health since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. These priorities need to be urgently tackled through a two-year partnership approach with communities and statutory organisations: social isolation, work and wages, young people, parental mental health, and access to services.   

Norman Lamb, Chair of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and Chair of the Mental-ill Health Prevention and Recovery Programme Taskforce, said:  

"Only by hearing the voices of those most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic can we build lasting solutions. This unique collaboration between our communities, South London's three mental health Trusts, local authorities, faith groups and third sector organisations means we can now act on the issues that will have the biggest impact and help rebuild lives.”  

Councillor Janet Campbell, Cabinet Member for Families, Health and Social Care on Croydon Council and Co-Chair of the Mental ill-Health Prevention and Recovery Programme Taskforce, said:   

"South London Listens has shown, that the enthusiasm and determination of our communities is undaunted in even the most challenging times. This is why I am so proud to attend the South London Listens community summit and be part of preventing Covid-19 leaving a lasting legacy on our mental health.”   

Hundreds of members of our communities will be joined by NHS Mental Health Trusts, local authorities, voluntary sector organisations and NHS Commissioners who will all be asked to pledge their commitment to take specific actions.   

This summit marks the beginning of a two-year mental ill health prevention and recovery programme to turn the tide and help create strong, resilient and healthy communities.   

David Bradley, Chief Executive of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said:  

"I have been inspired by the hundreds of stories and ideas shared as part of South London Listens. It is now up to us to work hand in hand with our communities to help work on the solutions identified. I will be going to the summit on 16 June, ready to act and pledge our support to build stronger, mentally healthier communities across South London."  

Register today  

Join your community by registering for this ground-breaking summit today.   

The summit will be held on Zoom on Wednesday 16 June 2021 from 6pm to 8pm. You can register at www.citizensuk.org/listeningsummit 

Notes to editors 

Mental Ill Health Prevention and Recovery Programme 

In summer 2020, the Mental Ill Health Prevention and Recovery Programme was formed in response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the mental health and wellbeing of our communities.  

Driven by the three mental health Trusts in South London (SWLStG, SLaM and Oxleas), the programme has had strong support from all local authority partners (councillors and leaders), South West London and South East London Integrated Care Systems, Healthwatch organisations and several community organisations including faith leaders, head teachers, students, governors and more.  

The programme has established a Taskforce, hosted three community summits, and commissioned and delivered the South London Listens campaign in partnership with the charity Citizens UK.  

Between November 2020 and March 2021, the campaign heard from 5,732 people across South London and focused on reaching groups disproportionately affected by mental ill health. There were also ‘mini-summits’ in several boroughs, attended by community leaders and MPs to share their experiences and ideas. 

Throughout March and April 2021, these events were complemented by an online survey which was completed by nearly 600 people.  



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