‘It’s no surprise young people are living with mental health issues’

Lester Buxton, Haringey’s youngest-ever mayor, sets out his pledges for the coming year

Lester Buxton (credit Haringey Council)
15/05/23 Annual Full Council, Tottenham Town Hall, Harringey. Photo: David Mirzoeff

I’m delighted to be serving as mayor of Haringey for 2023/24.

At 27, I am the youngest mayor in Haringey’s history. I broke the record that was set back in 1995, coincidently the year that I was born.

As a mayor in my 20s, I hope that I can raise awareness of young people’s issues. What with the climate emergency, housing and cost-of-living crisis as well as the toll the pandemic had on their education and ability to socialise, it is no surprise that many young people are living with mental health issues.

That’s why I have chosen Open Door as my mayor’s charity this year. Open Door, based in my ward Crouch End, offers therapy to young people between twelve and 24. We know that 75% of mental health issues start before the age of 24 and, of those, 50% start before a child is 14. It’s therefore vital that we ensure that organisations like Open Door get the funds they desperately need to address a young person’s mental health early so they can live their fullest life.

Despite growing up in Crouch End, I had no idea what Open Door was until my ward colleague Cressida Johnson, a former psychiatric nurse, explained. Even since announcing them as my charity, I’ve had people coming to me saying they hadn’t heard of the great work that they are doing. By choosing them as my charity, I hope that I can further raise awareness of Open Door and the great work they do, as well as the epidemic that mental ill health is becoming.

Throughout this year, I will be holding fundraisers and events for Open Door. Last year, my predecessor, Gina Adamou, held a five-a-side tournament for her charity Mind in Haringey and I hope we can continue this to make it an annual event for future mayors too. If you would like to donate, you can find the mayor’s charity section on the council’s website.

It’s possible my term will coincide with a general election. It is my civic duty as mayor to ensure that as many of our residents are not only registered to vote, but that they are aware that they must now have up-to-date photo ID to bring to the polling station. Registering young people to vote has long been an issue I’ve campaigned on and will continue to do so as mayor to make sure their voices are heard by parties of all colours.

To contact Lester Buxton:
Call 020 8489 2962
Email [email protected]

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