In the Spanish city of Tolosa, a citizens' jury on mental health started its work on 22 October 2022. By December, the 32 randomly selected participants will develop recommendations in in five meetings.
"We believe that we need to respond to the complex challenges we face by working together and involving citizens in policy-making," said Mayor Olatz Peon Ormazabal at the launch of the citizens' jury at a press conference. The aim of the process, he said, is to involve citizens in the discussion of an important problem and challenge. The city is committed to addressing and responding to the recommendations," Ormazabel added.
City council supports citizens' jury
In the City Council, all political groups support the citizens' jury, which was prepared with the support of the Arantzulab Social Innovation Laboratory and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). A new culture of participation is to be anchored in Tolosa. "Creating a space for joint deliberation not only gives citizens a leading role in some of the policy decisions that will shape our future, but also helps build citizens' trust in political institutions," said Naiara Goia, executive director of Arantzazulab.
2,400 randomly selected residents of the city had received an invitation to the citizens' jury. Among those who had applied to participate, a second draw was conducted to form the final group of participants.
Recommendations for authorities
The citizens' jury is to debate the mental health of the city's inhabitants and develop recommendations for action for the city authorities. In doing so, participants should answer the following question: What can the city of Tolosa do in terms of community collaboration to achieve a Tolosa that improves the health and emotional well-being of all?
Mental health includes emotional, psychological and social well-being. Citizens' jury participants will receive information on this from experts.
The citizens' jury will meet five times. Participants have committed to attend all meetings, which will always be held on Saturdays. The meetings will be held on 22 October, 5 November, 19 November, 3 December and 17 December from 9am to 6pm. For their participation, jury members receive an expense allowance of 444 euros.
At the last meeting on 19 December, the citizens' proposals will be presented to the municipal representatives. Afterwards, the municipality will examine the feasibility of all recommendations. In a final meeting to be held in 2023, the municipality intends to respond to the citizens' recommendations and explain which ones will be implemented, which ones will not and why not.
Second citizens' jury on mental health
The citizens' jury in Tolosa is the second on mental health in Spain. In the autonomous community of Valencia, a citizens' jury in March and April 2022 had developed recommendations on this, but also on the issues of drug addiction and addictive behaviour.