Derbyshire County Council is providing up to £45,000 of funding for the delivery of a 2-year project aiming to make Chesterfield a more mental health friendly place.
Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Communities, Councillor Carol Hart said: “For many people who suffer with anxiety, stress or depression a trip outside the home can be a difficult experience.
“COVID-19 has exacerbated existing symptoms for many people and has also increased the number of people feeling anxious about trips out.
“In providing some security and assurance, safe places and friendly faces may help people to overcome some of their anxieties.”
The pilot project, delivered by Fuzzy Ducklings, will link with the existing Safe Places scheme run by the council’s public health department.
This will enable it to extend the number of safe spaces into private businesses and retailers, which will increase the number of people it reaches.
It is proposed that a pilot scheme starts in Chesterfield where work has already taken place.
Lee Waterhouse, founder of Fuzzy Ducklings has his own experiences of mental health issues and this spurred him onto to help others.
He said: “I began to form the idea of making Chesterfield a mental health friendly place. I decided to create a mobile app where we bring together all the mental health services into one easy to find application.
“I also wanted to offer mental health awareness training to every business in the town centre.
“My passion for mental health awareness, and personal experience with mental health issues, puts Fuzzy Ducklings in the perfect position of providing a service that is of value to people throughout Chesterfield and Derbyshire.”
In order for Chesterfield to become a “mental health friendly” place a model has been developed that covers the following areas:
- Raising mental health awareness, addressing stigma, and promoting inclusivity
- Developing a digital resource that will support people by highlighting the location of safe spaces they can access if they feel unwell
- Engaging local business to play a role in improving the community’s mental health and wellbeing, for example, training staff on mental health awareness
Chesterfield Mental Health Network will oversee the initial scheme in Chesterfield. This is a multi-agency partnership with representatives from the community and voluntary sector, health and social care and the business sector. The pilot scheme will be evaluated and if successful, will be rolled out across Derbyshire.