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Let's end mental health stigma in Havering

PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 January 2016

#iMind

#iMind

Archant

Mental health issues will affect one in four during their lifetimes yet few of us have the tools or knowledge to analyse our own mental wellbeing and stigma still prevents many from seeking help.

This week the Recorder launches a major mental health awareness campaign with charity Havering Mind, which will run throughout 2016.

Through Mind Your Mental Health we aim to break down the stigma that persists and share advice for analysing and improving the wellbeing of our community.

It’s important that we all take the time to monitor and maintain our mental health.

The stresses and pressures of everyday life can take their toll but, as Havering Mind will illustrate, small acts such as a stroll in the park or speaking to a friend can reap huge benefits.

Those who suffer from mental illness can face stigma on a daily basis – whether a disparaging look in response to erratic behaviour or being passed over for opportunities.

The best way to combat this is through education and understanding.

Havering Mind chief executive, Vanessa Bennett, said: “It is our hope that this campaign will help to break down the stigma, to encourage people to seek help if needed and to inspire people to become more involved with our charity.

“We hope that you, the reader will support our efforts by helping to share this information with your friends and family and help spread the message that mental health is something that we all have.”

Throughout the next 12 months we will share the experiences of sufferers as well as calling upon schools, groups and employers to join us by pledging to promote understanding and awareness.

Alongside this, our investigations reporter Emma Youle will be examining services provided in Havering and nationally.

Despite government pledges to increase funding, there is a disparity between the treatment of physical and mental health conditions.

The Recorder will be pushing for fairer funding for mental health services and improvements in the provision of care, a cause we will ask the borough’s MPs to support.

Havering Mind helps more than 500 people each year and is looking to extend its reach by educating and supporting us all to help ourselves.

We will showcase the fundraisers that allow the charity to continue its important work and show how you can give it your support.

Improving the borough’s mental health is not something we can do alone. We need readers to support us by sharing their stories and pledging to support others, whether they be family members, neighbours or colleagues.

A new section on our website enables readers to add their name to a pledge to help break down stigma as well as supporting others and the work of Havering Mind.

This section will also share tips and advice as well as contact details of groups that can give help and guidance.

Special investigation turn to pages six and seven.

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