Staff and patients in Calderdale, North & South Kirklees and Wakefield, from the South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust are encouraging people to gain a better understanding of mental health problems this World Mental Health Day, 10 October 2003.

The Trust tries to champion mental health issues at all times and World Mental Health Day Celebrations are an ideal opportunity to combat the stigma that so often surrounds mental health problems and raise awareness of the services that the Trust provides.

People are often unaware of the facts surrounding mental health problems, which include:

85% of the general public think that people with mental ill health have been the subject of discrimination for too long. 1 in 6 people will have depression at some point in their lives. Depression is most common in people aged 25-44 years.

Around a quarter of all the drugs prescribed by the NHS are for mental health problems.Official figures suggest that 20% of women and 14% of men in England have some form of ‘mental illness’.

In a survey by Mind, 60% of mental health service users felt that media coverage was to blame for the discrimination they experienced. By 2020, depression will be second only to chronic heart disease as an international health burden (in terms of cause of death, disability, incapacity to work and the toll on medical resources).

On World Mental Health day, 10th October 2003 there will be an information stand in Boots, Halifax town centre providing members of the information about mental health issues, help and advice in an informal setting.

Judith Young, chief executive, said, ‘Mental health problems can affect anyone and the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health can often make it harder for people to ask for the help they need.

‘World Mental Health day is a superb opportunity to appeal to a wide audience and make them aware that mental health problems are extremely common, and could affect any one of us at any time in our lives. It is vital that we all look after our mental well-being as well as our physical health. The World Mental Health Day celebrations promote a positive image of both mental health, and the work of the staff within the Trust which goes a long way in reducing the harmful stigma that is often associated with mental health problems.’


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