A COUNCILLOR has been praised for opening up about his mental health issues during a meeting of Bradford Council.

Councillor Robert Hargreaves was applauded by Councillors of all parties when he completed a personal and moving speech in City Hall about the importance of supporting people with mental health issues.

The Conservative Councillor for Queensbury was tabling a motion calling for Bradford Council to review the support provided to people with mental health problems with a view to proving more support.

He suggested this could come in the form of free or reduced access to leisure facilities.

While presenting his motion he spoke of how he had suffered a mental health crisis in 2010, and pointed out how far society had come since then in accepting people with such problems.

Cllr Hargreaves said: "One in four people either suffer from a mental health condition, or will at some point in their lives."

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Based on current population figures, he said this amounted to over 133,000 people in Bradford, and Cllr Hargreaves added: "This figure will only increase.

"I had my own mental health crisis in 2010. I have spoken about that when I have been for job interviews and have still been successful. I don't feel anyone has treated me any differently. I've had conversations that I'd never thought possible to have when I first received my diagnosis for depression.

"When I told a manager about my diagnosis back then I was asked to sign a voluntary redundancy form. As a vulnerable 21 year old man going through a crisis I signed it. Now there is increased awareness and understanding."

He referred to high profile figures who recently ended their lives, such as Robin Williams, Keith Flint and Chester Bennington, adding: "People are now talking about this subject every day."

He pointed out that physical activity and the "freedom to explore" would benefit people dealing with mental health issues, and suggested the Council make leisure cards available, which would provide reduced costs for swimming and other leisure activities.

He added; "This could have an unprecedented impact on someone who lives with mental health issues.

"I hope this sparks some ideas. We should do what this motion calls for and help people of our district live happy, healthy lives."

Councillors throughout the chamber applauded Cllr Hargreaves after his speech.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Executive for Healthy People and Places, said: "I thank Cllr Hargreaves for his motion, but more importantly for sharing the mental health problems you have faced. These are issues that can affect people at any age at any time for any reason."

The Council voted to approve a motion calling for more to be done to support people with mental health issues, including "social prescribing."