08 October 2015

We are backing a new campaign launched by a service user from Bedfordshire who is determined to combat the stigma attached to mental health issues.

Ben Salmons has created the Break the Stigma initiative to help people understand more about the subject and to tackle common misconceptions.The public are encouraged to write a message on a white board headed ‘Let’s be open about mental health to Break the Stigma’. Individuals are then pictured with their comment and the image is uploaded to an @LetsBreakStigma Twitter page and Let’s Be Open About Mental Health Facebook page.It is also posted on the official East London NHS Foundation Trust Facebook page and Twitter page.

The project has been backed by the trust, which provides Bedfordshire & Luton Health and Wellbeing Services.
Chairwoman Marie Gabriel and chief executive Robert Dolan are among the trust members already pictured holding the board with a personal message.

Ben is determined to help people understand more about the issue.The 33-year-old first suffered mental health issues during his teenage years and four years ago tried taking his own life due to his mental health problems.
Now on the road to recovery, Ben wants others to know that it is ok to ask for help if they need it.

Ben said,

“The target of Break the Stigma is for everyone to be more open about mental health and to break down barriers. There is so much negative stuff in the media about it and that doesn’t help. Many people are scared about the subject because it is such an unknown thing to them.That is why just talking about it can make a real difference. I hope this will also reassure anyone who is struggling that it is ok to ask for help, whether that is through their GP or other health services.”

John Wilkins, managing director of Bedfordshire & Luton Health and Wellbeing Services, said the trust was delighted to support Ben.

“This is a conversation everyone should have, one in four people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year and suicide remains the most common cause of death in men under the age of 35.Nobody should feel awkward or uncomfortable discussing the issue of mental health. Ben is a shining example of a young man who has faced his own mental health challenges and is now doing all he can to help others understand the subject.”

If you would like to support the campaign email letsbreakstigma@outlook.com