Lagan Valley MLA and Health Minister, Edwin Poots, has helped to launch the Public Health Agency’s new mental health campaign, alongside legendary boxing trainer Gerry Storey.
With almost one in five people showing signs of a possible mental health problem, the new campaign is urging people to talk about their problems.
The Public Health Agency (PHA) campaign, which will raise awareness of the issue across TV, radio, print and online media, aims to highlight that people who have experienced feelings of anxiety, distress or despair can go on to recover with support.
The campaign features a man who thought that he could deal with his problems himself, but then realised that he should talk about it, and as a result started to feel better. The TV ad also stars well-known boxing trainer Gerry Storey playing the role of the man’s confidante.
Health Minister Edwin Poots MLA said: “Men in particular are often unwilling to ask for help when they are experiencing problems or emotional distress. However, bottling up these harmful emotions is the worst thing that we can do and invariably makes matters worse.
“The Public Health Agency and local mental health organisations are actively working together to promote a culture of help-seeking whilst at the same time attempting to address the stigma that is still, unfortunately, associated with mental ill-health. This is vital because, as a society, we need to be more aware that mental health and physical health are inextricably linked and that maintaining positive mental health is just as important as maintaining good physical health.
“Help seeking is a sign of strength rather than a display of weakness.”
The new campaign is just one element of a major programme of work by the PHA to deal with mental health promotion and suicide prevention.
More information on looking after your mental health and the support which is available across Northern Ireland can be found at www.mindingyourhead.info. You can also talk to your GP for advice.
If you or someone you know is in distress or despair, call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000. This is a confidential service, where trained counsellors will listen and help immediately on the phone and follow up with other support if necessary.
The helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also access the Lifeline website at www.lifelinehelpline.info