The South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust has launched a new campaign that challenges the stigma surrounding mental health problems.

The campaign has been launched to coincide with World Mental Health Day, celebrated each year on 10th October, and features a poster that challenges the use of inappropriate language to describe people with mental health problems. The poster is being displayed across Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield in a variety of places, including GP surgeries, health centres, colleges and libraries.

The poster features a scrabble board showing words like ‘bonkers’, ‘loony’ ‘schizo’ ‘nutter’ and ‘psycho’. It explains that the stigma surrounding people with mental health problems has a profound and damaging effect and makes it harder for people to admit they have a mental health problem, preventing them from getting the support they need. It also means that people with mental health problems are often treated with unwarranted fear and distrust.

Speaking about the poster, Trust Chief Executive, Judith Young, said, ‘Language is very powerful and we all need to be aware that terms often used to describe people with mental health problems reinforce negative, and incorrect, stereotypes. This poster will hopefully make people stop and think about the language they use when talking about people with mental health problems.’

Judith continued, ‘1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem and so lots of us, our friends, colleagues and families may need to use mental health services in our lifetimes. It’s therefore very important that we challenge the use of terms which make people feel like they have no value in our society’.

The campaign is particularly relevant in light of some of the facts surrounding mental health problems, which include: One in four people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year.

85% of the general public think that people with mental ill health have been the subject of discrimination for too long.

In a survey by Mind, 60% of mental health service users felt that media coverage was to blame for the discrimination they experienced.

In a survey by The Mental Health Foundation, 47% of people with mental health problems said that they had experienced discrimination at work. Evidence suggests that 1 in 4 people with ‘mental illness’ have not consulted a professional about their mental health.


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