A group of service users at South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust have got together to produce a newsletter for other service users and health professionals. The newsletter promotes the many positive things that people with mental health problems have done and includes poetry and advice about healthy living.

‘Mental health is just like physical health. It can be good or bad, lead to problems that last just over a few week or months or ones that need managing over a lifetime. Many people lead very fulfilled lives with their mental health problem,’ says the introduction to the newsletter. ‘It’s important to celebrate the good things that come out of having a mental health problems and promote good mental health and ways it can be achieved.’

The Positive Messages Group formed in December 2003 with the aim of sharing information, making suggestions to improve services and reducing the stigma of mental health through education and the creative arts.

Head of Research and Development Virginia Minogue who has worked closely with the group says, ‘Unfortunately the stigma surrounding mental health often stops people from accessing the help they need. This group is doing a brilliant job in reducing stigma and sending out positive messages.’

As well as the newsletter, the group have produced two posters that explain how we can all take care of our mental health. ‘The Road to Better Health’ and ‘Positive Mental Health’ posters encourage people to keep active, be creative, talk about their problems and be sociable. The posters have been distributed to GP’s surgeries and other health premises throughout Wakefield, Calderdale and Kirklees this week.


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