The Mayor of London has launched two major strategies, both which will have a direct and lasting effect the lives of people across Southwark- the Knife Crime Strategy and Thrive LDN, a scheme to tackle mental ill health.
Amongst a whole range of proposals, Mayor Khan pledged an additional £620,000 for projects to combat knife crime, taking the total he spends on the issue to £7million.
Additionally, a specialist team of Metropolitan Police will focus on super-targeted interventions to catch those carrying these grotesque weapons. This money and this additional support will be used to empower communities to help our young out of the cycles of violence which all too often end with the pointless loss of another life.
Another issue close to the Mayor’s heart and the hearts of many of us in Southwark is mental ill health.
Across London over two million people suffer from some form of poor mental health. If you are sitting on a full double-decker bus reading this, an average of 13 people on the bus with you will have some form of mental ill health condition.
This Mayor recognises, as I do, that we need to start seeing mental ill health in the same way we do with physical health. This is especially true for us in London where daily living can be much more stressful and places unique demands on us and our relationships. Mental ill health also affects significant numbers of young people, with estimates showing that 10% of our young people between 5 and 16 years of age suffer from some form of mental ill health.
If this did not convince you that we need to do something enough then you should also know that mental ill health costs the London economy a staggering £10billion.
Sadiq Khan has launched Thrive – a programme designed to get us all to embrace mental health as an important part of health and well-being. We need to remove the stigma surrounding mental health. He plans to do this with the backing of over 200 experts, clinicians, public and private organisations, charities and academics.
Thrive LDN will reach into schools and work with employers to help us all lead happier lives. It’s great that Southwark has been chosen to hold the first Thrive LDN community conversation. The event will be held at Southwark Council’s Tooley Street office on Tuesday 18 July 2017, attendance is free. Just search for thrive LDN for more information and to book a place. It is my belief that knife crime and mental ill health can, at times, be related. Hopefully through better knife crime reduction we will feel less anxious about our lives and maybe with some early mental health intervention fewer people will turn to knifes and gangs in a search for belonging and empowerment.
These are some of the most complex and intractable issues in Southwark and London today.