Ending the stigma of mental ill-health

SMASHING: Mental Health Awareness Day kickstarts with a tank riding through the Time to Change banner.

SMASHING: Mental Health Awareness Day kickstarts with a tank riding through the Time to Change banner.

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Trainee Reporter

CAMPAIGNERS wanting to raise awareness of mental health wanted to make as much noise as possible – so they called on the Army at Bovington.

A tank smashed through a ‘Time to Change’ poster, as part of an event linked to national ‘Time to Talk’ Day to tackle the stigma suffered by people affected by mental illness.

The Time to Talk initiative is part of the wider Time to Change campaign, run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

Bovington Garrison has already pledged to play its part in the fight to end the stigma and discrimination against people with mental health issues.

The Armour Centre’s Lt Col Pearce and army matron Major Vanessa Crossey signed a pledge last year agreeing to take action to reduce discrimination. More British soldiers and veterans took their own lives in 2012 than died fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan during the same period.

For the launch at Bovington, representatives from organisations including Dorset HealthCare’s mental health gathered for a ‘tea and talk’ session. Drop-in sessions were arranged at the garrison where people had access to one-to-one advice from local therapists.

Dorset HealthCare director of mental health services Jane Elson said: “The Time to Talk campaign is about making as much noise as possible about mental health.

“Mental health problems are common – and yet almost nine out of ten people who experience them say they face stigma and discrimination as a result.

“This needs to change, and Dorset HealthCare is delighted to be part of this exciting day, which we hope will drive awareness among the local public.”

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