A DORSET artist is helping to draw a line under stigmatising people with mental health problems.

Former Poole College student Stuart Semple and cartoonist Stephen Collins have created exclusive ‘get well soon’ cards, which will be used as part of the Time to Change campaign, run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

The cards will be used alongside an advertising campaign running throughout February.

Stuart, who has been described as ‘a latter-day Andy Warhol’, is one of a group of British artists who has put paintbrush to paper to support England’s biggest anti-stigma programme, Time to Change.

He said: “There is still so much silence around the subject of mental health, yet it’s something that can affect all of us at some point in our lives.

“People don’t seem to receive get well cards when they have a mental health problem and it’s a shame that it’s still such a taboo subject.”

New research has shown that only one in four people who have experienced a mental health problem in the south west have received a get well card during their illness, even though 82 per cent say that a card would be a good way for others to let them know they are thinking of them.

He said: “Whether it’s a note of support, or just reminding someone you care, these small things can make a big difference.

“I hope the designs I’ve made help those who receive them know that they are loved and that there are people around them that care. That’s such a simple yet powerful thing.”

Illustrator Stephen Collins, who is best known for his regular cartoons in the Guardian and Prospect magazine, said: “As one in four people experience a mental health problem in any given year, it is something we should all become more open about so that we can help those around us who need our support.” Sue Baker, director of Time to Change, said: “When you’re dealing with a mental health problem, you need the support of friends and family more than ever. But people can feel awkward around the subject and unsure of what to do. “Sending a card is a simple way of letting someone know you’re there for them. We often hear people say that when they are off work with a physical illness they are inundated with cards and flowers, but with a mental health problem, there is only silence. We should be treating people no differently.”

The new card designs have been made available as downloadable e-cards on the Time to Change website.

Find out how to start your conversation at time-to-change.org.uk/talk-about-mental-health or you can tweet #timetotalk.