SINN Féin councillor Colly Kelly has welcomed a new media campaign launched by Health Minister Michelle O’Neill to encourage the public to offer support to those who may be struggling with their mental health.
Launched yesterday on World Mental Health Day, the campaign ‘Helping Others’ will use TV, radio, digital and outdoor advertising and focuses on how people can support family or friends to deal with a mental health problem
Councillor Colly Kelly said: “The stark reality is that 1 in 4 of us will be affected at some point in our lives by a mental health issue.
“So mental ill health is common – we will either suffer from it at some stage or a member of our family will, or one of our friends.
“There is still a stigma associated with mental ill health.
“This stigma can act as a barrier for people affected coming forward and seeking help.
“It can also make recovery more difficult when people experience negative reactions from family, work colleagues or neighbours.
“These negative views and stereotyping lead to people being isolated and discriminated against and it is therefore essential that we all work towards breaking down these barriers and putting an end to the silence.
“The stigma of someone with mental health issues needs to be tackled and the message needs to go out that help is available to talk to someone, a friend, family members, a service provider or a helpline.
“People shouldn’t bottle it up. ’It’s Okay not to feel Okay’,” added Cllr Kelly.