As part of a public health and urban policy approach, Local Mental Health Councils (LMHCs) were
introduced around the year 2000. Because they bring together members from different backgrounds,
LMHCs foster a joint approach and help break down barriers between departments and institutions.
Their main objective is to improve prevention, healthcare and living conditions of those suffering from
mental health issues in a locality. Here is how they operate and why.

Who participates in a Local Mental Health Council?

Local Mental Health Councils are defined as local consultation and coordination bodies, created through a joint commitment on the part of mental health stakeholders seeking to improve mental health in their locality together.

A LMHC is chaired by an elected official and brings together complementary stakeholders: local elected officials, professionals in mental health and psychiatry, users and their representatives, families and carers. Local professionals and citizens who feel concerned by the topic can also take part in the LMHC.

A LMHC usually consists of a steering committee which sets up several working groups with a project-
based approach, a technical committee, and a plenary assembly which is usually held yearly.

What are the objectives of a LMHC?

LMHCs focus on a participative approach and seek to develop specific and adapted solutions for those concerned.

They define strategic and operational objectives, based on the resources and needs identified locally, to:

  • take action to improve mental health
  • allow access to psychiatric healthcare and continuity of care
  • promote the social inclusion, autonomy, and full citizenship of users
  • tackle stigmatisation and discrimination

Many new LMHCs are created in France each year. These decision-making bodies play an important role in dealing with mental health issues equally and in finding the right responses to the mental health
needs of a locality.

Article updated on 12/08/22