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Awareness campaign highlights one in five who struggle with mental health

Published 10/10/2016

A major new campaign is being launched to highlight awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental ill health
A major new campaign is being launched to highlight awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental ill health

One in five people in Northern Ireland will struggle with mental health issues at some point during their life, officials have said.

The warning comes as a major new campaign is launched to highlight awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental ill health.

Mary Black, a ssistant director of health and social wellbeing Improvement with the Public Health Agency said: "One in five of us at any one time will show signs of a mental health problem.

"The other four will know a friend, family member or colleague who will be experiencing mental ill-health, so this is an issue that affects us all in some way."

The campaign Helping Others will include television, radio, digital and outdoor adverts to encourage family and friends to support those who may be suffering.

It has been launched to coincide with World Mental Health Day.

Health Minister Michelle O'Neill said : "It is important that society is open about discussing mental health and that people are willing to talk to their friends and family if they feel concerned about their mental health.

"For many people, being able to talk to someone they trust about how they are feeling could be the first step towards recovery."

Meanwhile, a leading homeless charity has also raised concerns about the high prevalence of mental health issues, self-harm and suicide attempts among those seeking their services.

Jim Dennison, from the Simon Community, said the correlation between mental ill health and homelessness must be tackled .

He said: "Numerous studies have found a strong link between homelessness and an array of mental health conditions, with a higher prevalence of mental ill health in the homeless population.

"The recent tragic death of another person experiencing homelessness is a further indicator of a desperate need that is not being discussed in Northern Ireland.

"We want to draw attention to this, in the hope that people will discuss their problems, ask for help, and understand that homelessness is a much more complex issue than just not having a roof over your head."

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