LETTER: Tackling stigma

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With mental health awareness week having been in full swing, I would like to commend all the hard work we are seeing from charities up and down the country.

Improving access to services and addressing the issue of mental health, particularly in young people, is an issue we should all be talking about. Unfortunately there is still such stigma around mental health, especially in males. Figures released by the Office for National Statistics last February show the male suicide rate is the highest since 2001, which is a very troubling statistic.

The Boys’ Brigade as a major youth organisation has contact with 48,000 members across the UK, and it is a priority for us to recognise the need to provide support and reassurance for anyone who needs it. Earlier this year, we teamed up with the mental health charity YoungMinds UK to provide training for our young BB leaders. It gave our volunteers a chance to learn more about how to support young people’s emotional well-being, and how other specialist organisations can help.

We are committed to continue this support, beyond just a few events, and hopefully we can support our leaders and young people and work together with other organisations to stamp out the stigma and see these worrying figures change for the better.

BILL STEVENSON

Acting chief executive of The Boys’ Brigade, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire

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