Listening and learning for London’s Mental Health Day

31 January 2024

Written by: Lambeth Council

News and announcements

Mental health specialist Juney Muhammad led a discussion with Lambeth volunteers on recognising and supporting people with mental health issues.

Main post content

Listening and learning for London’s Mental Health Day

For London’s Mental Health Day, January 26, Lambeth invited mental health specialist Juney Muhammad from South London & Maudsley Trust to lead a discussion with volunteer networks on recognising and supporting people who might be struggling with their mental wellbeing.

Word from the Cabinet

Cllr Jim Dickson, Lambeth Cabinet Member for Healthier Communities said: “For last year’s London Mental Health Day, we went walkabout to green spaces and places of sanctuary where people go for mental health help. This year, we’re learning how we can help when someone needs us, with people coming together and learning from each other about empathy, about active listening, about being with someone as a fellow-human not just pointing them to services for help.”

Health  and stigma

Juney Mohammed of SLAM NHS trust

Juney Mohammed of SLAM NHS Trust

“As a society we value IQ over emotional intelligence. Are we aware how mental health can underlie strokes and cancer? Anxiety hormones – cortisol and adrenalin – build up cholesterol as much as fats and sugars. Stigma, or treating mental health issues as a sign of weakness, is the biggest barrier to asking for help.  It’s under the carpet, it’s taboo. We don’t talk about mental health until someone comes home from school or work needing to talk.

Active Listening

“People see emotions, but not the marginalisation, bullying, stereotyping, anxiety that someone’s managing. Active listening lets you drop your professional role, your wish to solve the problem. Try listening to hear, not to answer.

Empathy, not Sympathy

“To show empathy, you need to find something in yourself that’s been to that place where they’re saying ‘I’m lost, I’m alone, I’ve had enough’. It gives us a better chance to be human, to understand feelings behind words, to be with someone, not rescue them.

“Sometimes professionals complain ‘we’re finding it difficult to engage with someone- yes, because, you’re trying to do it on your terms not theirs.  You’ve got to accept yourself – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Signposting and more

‘We need to do more than ‘signposting’ someone to help. Some people get tired of telling their most intimate secrets over and over to different people, re-traumatised every time they ask for help. Look at places that can help together, offer to go with them, ask if they went and if it seemed like the right place to help them.”

Get Mental Health Help and support 

Lambeth Council are a partner in the Lambeth Together Living Well Network Alliance which supports people in Lambeth experiencing mental illness or distress. They’re working together to improve local mental health services to be more joined up, quicker and easier to access, more focused on prevention, avoiding crises and unnecessary admissions to hospital. Find out more about the Living Well Network Alliance.

Mental Health is a Lambeth Together Priority. Mental Health prevention also features in the Lambeth Together Staying Healthy Programme which is led by Public Health Lambeth, helping more local people to maintain positive behaviours that keep them healthy. Find out more about the Staying Healthy Programme.

To stay up to date on more local health and care priorities, follow @LambethTogether.