Tackling the stigma of mental health issues

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Horsham hosted an emotional wellbeing event for World Mental Health Day on October 10.

West Sussex County Council used the day to encourage people to raise awareness of the issues surrounding mental health which affect people of all ages.

On the day, young people were invited to find out more about emotional well-being and take part in a variety of workshops as well as visit the market place, where young people and professionals can access a wide range of providers.

Staff at the Youth Emotional Service work with young people aged 11-17 across the county to help young people who have issues that affect their wellbeing.

A statement from the county council said: “The event was a great success with around 60 young people in attendance.”

Mia Cook, 17-years-old from Shoreham (who used the YES service in Lancing as it’s closest to her) said: “I think awareness days are really important to get people really aware of what’s going on and to see that other people are talking about what they’re going through so they can have the confidence to say actually I’m feeling that too. So you don’t feel as alone in what you’re feeling.

“People seem really enthusiastic; it’s really encouraging to see young people wanting to get involved with mental health issues and stuff.”

Hannah Broad, 18-years-old from Bognor Regis, said: “I feel like it’s important to have these days to make people more aware of what’s actually going on.

“Because I don’t think many people are aware of what having a mental illness actually involves and what actually happens.

“I think some people are quite scared of it, if they don’t know much about it.

“So it’s more just about making people aware and coming to these sort of events, you don’t feel alone and you know that there’s others that are struggling just like you. So it just makes you feel more okay with yourself and you access more and more information about it, what’s going on and you’re able to access more services.”

With one in four people being affected by a mental illness in any year, residents and workers in West Sussex are being urged break down the barriers associated with mental health.

Stephen Hillier, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children – Start of Life, said: “World Mental Health Day will be a celebration of the fantastic work already achieved by the Free Your Mind group and the Youth Emotional Service. They have all worked so hard to raise awareness and to tackle these issues which affect so many people in West Sussex.

“We need to follow in their footsteps and work together to keep challenging the stigmas which continue to overshadow people’s mental health. Almost everyone will have someone in their lives who is affected by a mental health issue. We need to pull together to eradicate the isolation they can experience and help them to see they are not alone.”

The event at Horsham’s FindItOut Centre had workshops to help young people deal with anxiety/stress management, meditation and more.

The marketplace ran throughout the day with stalls hosted by Children and Young People Family Eating Disorder Service, Dialogue counselling, Kooth – online mental health support, the Library Service, MIND Advocacy & Outset.

A presentation was given at 5pm by members of UK Youth Parliament who presented their national campaign ‘Time to Talk.’

There are eight FindItOut centres across West Sussex which are on hand to support those aged 13-25. To find out more visit https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/18969

Contributed by West Sussex County Council

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