16 December 2016

Powerful posters encouraging rail users to think about mental health are going on display at stations in Bedfordshire.

Train operators Thameslink and Great Northern are supporting the Trust's Break the Stigma initiative by providing free printing and display space for the eye-catching posters.

Ben Salmons, who has battled his own mental health challenges, created Break the Stigma to help people across the county understand more about the subject and to tackle common misconceptions.

He is now employed by the Trust to continue his campaign work and encourage healthy, open discussion about mental health.

The 34-year-old from Ampthill is delighted his posters are going up at Bedford, Biggleswade, Flitwick and Luton train stations.

“Thousands of people use these stations every day and will see the posters,” he said.

“I hope it will encourage them to think about their mental health and to ask for help if they need it.”

Hundreds of people have backed the Break the Stigma project by writing a personal message on a white board headed ‘Let’s Be Open About Mental Health to Break the Stigma’.

They are pictured with their comment and the image is shared through the campaign Facebook page and @LetsBreakStigma on Twitter, as well as the official East London NHS Foundation Trust Facebook page and @NHS_ELFT Twitter account. 

The station posters feature images of four people with their personal messages and contact details for the Luton Wellbeing Service and the Bedfordshire Wellbeing Service, which provide free and confidential mental health help and support.

Thameslink station manager Joe Healy said: “Sadly people do sometimes use the railway to take their own life and the effects are devastating for all those involved, including my colleagues.

“It is vital that people talk about mental health and we are very pleased to help with this campaign.”

The campaign has also been featured by ITV Anglia news.

Click here to watch the video report.