Time to talk about mental health

Councillor Jeanie Bell
Councillor Jeanie Bell
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RESIDENTS are being invited to join the national and help stamp out mental health discrimination.

St Helens Council is urging residents to take part in a national campaign day on February 4 that aims to get everyone talking about mental health in order to help end the misconceptions around it.

Named Time to Talk Day, and organised by Time to Change, the England-wide campaign seeks to dispel discrimination and stigmas related to mental health problems. It’s the biggest project of its kind in England, and is led by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

On the day, residents are asked to have simple conversations about mental health with family, friends or colleagues, and to log their conversations on an interactive map by emailing timetotalk@sthelens.gov.uk helping to build a local picture.

Many residents already have, in the local campaign ‘Time to Talk in St Helens #10000minutes’ that launched on World Mental Health Day in October 2015 at a Town Hall event.

Led locally by St Helens Council’s Healthy Living Team, a goal of 20,000 minutes of mental health conversations was set after the initial target of 10,000 minutes was achieved within just six weeks. The conversations are logged on a local map, and the total currently stands at 20,245 minutes.

Councillor Jeanie Bell, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “Research shows that one in four people nationally will experience mental health issues in the course of a year, and many are reluctant to be vocal about them, so it’s certainly something that we as a community need

to be proactive about.

“Talking about mental health is the best way to help – by simply having a simple conversation with family, with friends, with whomever, we can begin to eliminate the stigma that often stifles and isolates people experiencing mental distress.

“We’ve seen such a great response from the community so far, and I’m sure many more residents will join us for the national Time to Talk Day on 4 February.”

The campaign report highlighting the local success is available from the Healthy Living Team website at healthysthelens.co.uk, where residents can also find out about a range of healthy lifestyle services.

To find out more about mental health and the Time to Talk in St Helens campaign, please call Drew Perkins, Health Improvement Specialist on 0300 300 0103, or email timetotalk@sthelens.gov.uk