Swindon has a new mental health champion. 

Councillor Curtis Flux, the Conservative member for Liden, Eldene & Park South, has been given the job of advocating for consideration of mental health issues in the council, and making sure the authority’s policies help improve - or at least don’t impact -wellbeing. 

Coun Flux said the need was as great as ever, particularly after the disruptions and restrictions of two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said: “The issues of poor mental health locally and nationally have been growing concern for some time now.  

“In Swindon and throughout the UK we have seen some good progress but there certainly is more work to be done to help improve, support, and further reduce the stigma attached to mental health issues. The covid pandemic has highlighted these concerns and added to the struggles of adults and children of all ages.” 

Coun Flux has no specific powers to improve mental health provision across the towns - he has no real budget or department of staff - but he wants to be a voice in the administration reminding cabinet members to be aware of issues when making and implementing policy. 

He said: “As mental health champion I hope to use my skills in order to provide positive support through closer working with the council and in particular, the Cabinet Member for Health Brian Ford to provide encouragement, updates, and recommendations on the state of play of mental health throughout Swindon. 

“My focus will be on ensuring that mental health awareness and common mental health issues are considered and prioritised within the council's policies and plans.” 

“I hope to build stronger partnerships with health services, schools, charities and other key stakeholders, whist working to reduce the discrimination and stigma often associated with mental health. 

"I will look at what we have done well in recent years across our communities and what area we can improve upon to support more people to a greater extent. I don’t want to see anyone who needs help, go without because they cannot access support or because the right kind of support is not available to them at a local level. 

“Here in Swindon, we have a fantastic group of charities, volunteers and support structures that work tirelessly to provide additional help to many individuals, and this is something we must pay tribute to. 

I am excited and honoured to be given the responsibility and role of mental health champion for the council.

"I am determined to have a positive impact, giving honest and constructive feedback to officers, colleagues, and partners."