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YMCA calls on local community to talk about mental health

May 8, 2017

YMCA HUMBER is calling on the local community to openly talk about mental health and tackle stigma, as part of Mental Health Awareness Week (8-14 May).

The local youth charity, which works with 300 young people across North East Lincolnshire provides a range of mental health services, including the Reaching Your Potential programme.

To raise awareness of mental health and to break the stigma that often prevents young people from seeking help, YMCA Humber is asking the local community to talk about mental health and signpost young people to the charity’s services for help.

Malcolm Smith, Chief Executive of YMCA Humber, said: “Giving young people support from an early age can stop the escalation of mental health difficulties at a later stage, but we know from speaking to young people that stigma often prevents them from seeking help.

“Mental Health Awareness Week is a great opportunity for each and every one of us to do our bit to tackle stigma by talking about mental health openly, without using harmful language and without judgement.

“Our approach over the past 135 years has always focused on young people’s mind, body and spirit which is why we have a range of different services, empowering young people to manage their mental health day in and out for a happy and fulfilling life.

Start a conversation about mental health

To help people start a conversation about mental health, the charity has put together a few tips on what to say, and what not to say, when talking to someone with mental health difficulties. The guide was produced with the help of young people from Right Here project in Brighton and Hove.

Do say:

  • “How can I support you?” “If you don’t want to talk to me, let’s find somebody you feel happy to chat to.”
  • “What do you need me to understand?”
  • “I’m here to listen, when you feel ready to talk.”
  • “I understand you’re feeling [use their words here.] It must be tough for you.”

Don’t say:

  • “Calm down”, “chill out” or “cheer up.”
  • “This is just a phase you’re going through”
  • “You shouldn’t feel this way”
  • “Just get over it”

YMCA Humber is part of the wider national YMCA federation that, in total, provided 17,360 people with mental health advice and counselling services in the last year.

IAMWHOLE campaign

In partnership with the NHS, YMCA England & Wales launched the #IAMWHOLE campaign last year to tackle mental health stigma after the charity’s research revealed 70% of young people who have suffered stigma because of their mental health difficulties are less likely to talk about their experiences.

Nationally, it also provides a range of mental health services and in 2015/16 ran the Mental Health Champions programme that delivered more than 4,000 awareness sessions across the country.

To find out more about how to start a conversation about mental health, visit www.findgetgive.com

To find out more about what the YMCA does to help in your community, visit them on social media – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.