Lichfield residents urged to have their say on stigma surrounding mental health

Mental health patients in Lichfield are being urged to reveal how they’re affected by public attitudes.

Figures claim more than 25,000 people in the area suffer from some kind of mental illness.

A report by the Mental Health Foundation suggests that many patients find social stigma and discrimination an issue.

Healthwatch Staffordshire has launched an anonymous online discussion ahead of World Mental Health Day tomorrow (October 10) and wants local people to have their say.

Jan Sensier, chief executive of Engaging Communities Staffordshire

Jan Sensier, chief executive of Engaging Communities Staffordshire

Jan Sensier, chief executive of Engaging Communities Staffordshire, which delivers Healthwatch, said: “Mental health problems affect many thousands of people throughout the county as well as their friends, families, and work colleagues.

“One in four of us will experience an issue at some point in our lives, but even though so many people are affected, there is still a strong social stigma attached to the illness.

“People who suffer say public attitudes attached to mental health and the discrimination they experience can make their difficulties worse and make it harder to recover.

“Addressing that problem and changing stereotypes is a huge challenge, but the best way to start is through first-hand contact with those affected.”

The online discussion is running alongside a survey on the quality of services and support available in the county for people with mental illness.

Ms Sensier added: “Mental health was identified as one of our top priorities for this year, so the forum and survey are a key part of that.

“We want people to give us their views and experiences and we’ll pass on our findings to those responsible for services and support in Staffordshire.”

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.