Today the Yorkshire Evening Post launches an important new campaign to encourage people to talk about mental health and help challenge the damaging stereotypical assumptions that still surround the issue.
More than 85,000 people over the age of 18 in Leeds have a mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety – and that’s predicted to rise to 100,000 during the next 15 years.
It is an issue that affects a combination of young and old across the city, as latest figures also show one in 10 youngsters aged between five and 16 have a mental health disorder, while suicide rates in Leeds among those aged under 65 are higher than nationally.
Now the YEP’s campaign #SpeakYourMind – which ties in with World Mental Health Day today – is calling on people to get talking about mental health problems and help tackle the continuing stigma surrounding the issue.
You can show your support by tweeting using our hashtag #SpeakYourMind, or posting on Facebook and social media, and help us to make a real difference. We have partnered on the launch of the campaign with the Leeds Community Foundation (LCF), which tonight will hold a key event with more than 120 business leaders in the city.
With one in four of us experiencing mental health problems each year, this is an issue that can’t be ignored.Sally-Anne Greenfield, chief executive of Leeds Community Foundation
Sponsored by Asda, Standard Life Wealth, Depuy Synthes and Westfield Health, it will feature major speakers such as former Downing Street press secretary Alastair Campbell and Leeds City Council chief executive Tom Riordan talking about their own experiences.
Mental health is a key priority in LCF’s The Leeds Fund that offers project grants.
Sally-Anne Greenfield, chief executive of the LCF, said: “With one in four of us experiencing mental health problems each year, this is an issue that can’t be ignored.
“We are delighted to support the YEP’s #SpeakYourMind campaign to help raise awareness of mental health problems and combat the stigma surrounding them.”
As part of the campaign, we are also calling on businesses and organisations to let staff speak out about mental health issues without prejudice.
The number of young people admitted to hospital because of self-harm has increased by an alarming 68 per cent over the last 10 years.
Helen Kemp, chief executive of the Leeds Mind mental health charity, said: “We hope the campaign will encourage people to speak out and challenge stigma and discrimination around mental health.”
The latest figures show that one in 10 young people, aged between five and 16 years old, suffer from a mental health disorder.
YEP editor Nicola Furbisher said: “Mental health problems are much more common than people think and yet still too many people feel isolated or ashamed to talk about them.
“We need to change this and improve awareness and understanding so everyone can speak out about their problems.
“This campaign hopes to make a real difference. Help us do that by sharing your own personal experiences and pledging your support. Please join us and #SpeakYourMind.”
Have you downloaded the free YEP app available on Android and iphone?
Video: Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Tricia Thorpe, Anti-stigma Coordinator and Mat Dale, Director