The innovative anti stigma work of a local mental health Trust, including posters, book marks and post cards showing how common mental health problems are, is being carried across county boundaries after being spotted on the internet by a learning support assistant in Nottinghamshire.
South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health and learning disability services to people in Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield, has been introducing the hard-hitting anti-stigma materials over a number of years, helping to educate local people and increase understanding around mental health problems.
Tammy Marsh, who works as a Senior Learning Support Assistant at West Nottinghamshire College, supports students with mental health difficulties and saw the anti-stigma materials on the internet whilst browsing for resources. She contacted the Trust to request copies of the posters which she felt would effectively communicate an anti stigma message to students at the college.
Tammy said, "We at West Nottinghamshire College are passionate about promoting learning to people experiencing mental health difficulties and part of my role is to raise awareness about mental health throughout the college via training and informative displays. I came across the Trust’s anti-stigma posters while browsing the internet and thought they were really eye-catching and a fun way of getting a serious message across."
She continued, "I particularly like the poster that shows the names of all the famous people who have openly admitted to having mental health problems. Students can identify with these people and hopefully understand that absolutely anyone can experience mental health difficulties. I also think the posters will encourage our students to seek support of they need it and not be embarrassed or ashamed of their mental health issues."
The Trust’s chief executive Steven Michael said, "It’s great to be able to share our good practice with colleagues in different sectors and outside our own geographical area. I’m thrilled our campaign is having such a positive effect. People with mental health problems often face discrimination and prejudice, mostly due to a lack of understanding. With 1 in 4 people experiencing difficulties in any given year, mental health problems are far more common than people think. The aim of our anti stigma materials is to dispel the common myths surrounding mental ill health and to help people understand that anyone can be affected."