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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness


Embargoed until 01 January 0001

Further support for Northern Ireland's 'Take a Stand on Stigma' pledge:

Jonny Evans, Manchester United and Northern Ireland footballer, leant his support ahead of tonight’s Northern Ireland v Italy match. “Sometimes we don’t know that what we are saying is hurting someone else, and making fun of mental health can stop someone getting help when they need it. If you think a friend is having a problem, give them some support to get help. Look after your own head – get out and get some exercise. Playing a game of football won’t just keep your body fit, it’s great for your mental wellbeing too.”

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Pat Convery, said he is enthusiastic about supporting the stigma initiative. "By showing support all of us can make a real difference.  Rather than ignoring such an important issue, we have a moral duty to do what we can to help.”

Gary Lightbody said he and the Oh Yeah! Music Centre are behind the pledge as it fits their ethos.  "Oh Yeah Music Centre is a space where young people can come and feel safe physically and emotionally. We promote awareness of mental health issues and the important role music can play."

Patricia Lewsley, Commissioner for Children and Young People said “We must all work towards changing the negative attitudes towards children and young people with mental ill health and break down the stigma that is attached to it. Government departments and service providers need to ensure that there is enough information and support for parents, carers and friends of those with mental ill health.”

Lynda Bryans, journalist and broadcaster, has campaigned on stigma because of her own experience of depression and said she wholeheartedly supports this pledge. “Many people remember a time when you couldn’t speak about cancer. These days we speak openly about the most embarrassing cancers and know to check for lumps and bumps. Over time I hope we can do the same with mental health, because stigma really does get in the way of recovery.”

Alastair Campbell said he supports the pledge because he has experienced mental health problems personally. “When Tony Blair asked me to work for him, I explained all about my breakdown, drink problem and depression, and he said ‘I’m not bothered if you’re not bothered.’ When I said what if I am bothered, he said ‘I’m still not bothered’. We’ve got to take the shame out of mental health problems.”

Frank Cottrell Boyce, the Irish author of children’s books including Framed and Millions, supported the said it’s time people realised mental health problems can happen to anyone. “How about nicking a thought from the Roman playwright Terence – I am a human being; nothing that happens to any human could not happen to me.”





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