Press release: National praise for mental health support in Black Country

(Press release prepared by City of Wolverhampton Council / HeadStart Wolverhampton)

The national mental health director for NHS England visited Wolverhampton to focus on mental health issues in the Black Country – and was "uplifted and excited" by the work of the City of Wolverhampton Council and its partners.

Claire Murdoch met representatives from the council and a wide range of other organisations at the event at the Civic Centre earlier this month.
Hosted by the council, it reflected on the good work taking place in the region to support people with mental health needs, and looked at areas for further development. 

Claire Murdoch, national mental health director for NHS England, and Linda Sanders, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Strategic Director People, with members of the HeadStart Wolverhampton team including Amelia Chalack, Sunita Pallan Jhalli, Tara Bourne, Megan Williams, Nicola Holmes, Jessica Sharp and Emma Sayles.

Claire Murdoch, national mental health director for NHS England, and Linda Sanders, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Strategic Director People, with members of the HeadStart Wolverhampton team including Amelia Chalack, Sunita Pallan Jhalli, Tara Bourne, Megan Williams, Nicola Holmes, Jessica Sharp and Emma Sayles.

Claire, who has been a registered mental health nurse for more than three decades, also met young members of the pioneering HeadStart Wolverhampton programme, which is helping 10 to 16-year-olds cope with life’s challenges.

She said: "I was stimulated, humbled, uplifted and excited by all I heard about the work of the council and its partners. The passion, values and creativity shone through and I really had insight into the ideas and plans. I was blown away by Wolverhampton's youth – the future is bright."

Linda Sanders, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Strategic Director People, said: "Everyone made a strong impact on Claire and I am sure she will utilise some of her findings in her national role and bear Wolverhampton in mind when opportunities arise to contribute further to the implementation of the national programme in the future.

"The day underlined the importance of strong national policy direction with passionate leadership, and the impact of this on local implementation. It was great to hear how pleased Claire is with the way we have embraced the national programme here in the Black Country.

"A key challenge highlighted by Claire was to change the somewhat negative narrative around mental health support and services, and that is something we are determined to do here in Wolverhampton. Our HeadStart programme in particular is a very positive scheme which is an inspiration to us all and which is set to have a huge impact on the lives of so many children and young people."