A wide range of inappropriate language is being used around mental health by some cabinet members of Lambeth council, says Green party opposition leader Cllr Jon Bartley.

Cllr Bartley said he had found them following a a quick search of social media.

In response to a question at next Wednesday’s full meeting of Lambeth council Cllr Bartley tells Cllr  Danny Adilypour he “does not wish to list them as I do not believe it is right to use mental health to score political points, or try to embarrass anyone publicly, but I would be happy to provide you with examples.”

Cllr Adilypour, in a question to Cllr Bartley, says that at the last full meeting of the council Cllr Scott Ainslie (St Leonards) referred to the Labour party as being “schizophrenic”.

In his question Cllr Adilypour (Lab Streatham South) says: “Schizophrenia is a serious and often debilitating mental illness that one in every 100 people suffer from. “Using this illness as a term of political abuse does nothing to help public perceptions of the illness.

“Would Cllr Bartley therefore take this opportunity to apologise on behalf of Cllr Ainslie and the Green group and confirm that equalities training will be given to Green councillors who require it?”

Responding Cllr Bartley says: “As a Green group, we are committed to understanding mental illness and supporting those who experience mental health problems.

“As councillors we believe it is important to admit where we get things wrong. “I have spoken to Cllr Ainslie and he would like to me to convey his sincere apologies for the word used at the last meeting of full council.

“As 10th October 2018 is World Mental Health Day, I would like to reaffirm the Green party’s commitment to take action on the UK’s mental health crisis.

“We signed the ‘Time to Change’ organisational pledge in 2013 as a commitment to promote a better understanding of mental health problems and have worked since then to offer support and advice to our staff and members.

“One in four of us will experience a mental health problem each year and it is unacceptable that many will suffer alone.

“I invite all members to join me in acknowledging our collective responsibility to challenge attitudes and tackle discrimination against those suffering from mental illness.

“The Green group are also calling on Lambeth council to sign up to the ‘Time to Change’ employer pledge (which at the time of writing it has not done) as Croydon, Tower Hamlets and several other councils across London have already done, and put in place a workplan to fulfil it.

“I would urge all of us to reflect on our language and to work to improve these in order to ensure we are representing all of Lambeth’s residents to the best of our ability. “I would invite all members to attend and take part in the mental health awareness workshop currently being arranged for all councillors.”

Editor’s Note: The ‘Time to Change’ employer pledge is Led by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness,  a mental health charity founded in 1972 by John Pringle whose son was diagnosed with schizophrenia. The charity was set up after an article was published written by Pringle on May 9th 1970. (Source: Wikipedia) ‘Time to Change’ is funded by Comic Relief; the National Lottery and the Department of Health and Social Care


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