Local backing for World Mental Health Day

Published Thursday 10 October 2019 at 9:31

Blackburn with Darwen Council is joining local NHS health partners in supporting World Mental Health Day on Thursday (October 10) which, this year, is themed around suicide prevention.

In the UK suicide is the leading cause of death of young people under 35 and the leading cause of death of men under 45. In Blackburn with Darwen between 2016/18, 23 men and 14 women took their own life.

Suicide prevention has been one of the Council’s key corporate campaigns to support over the past year given the growing awareness of this vitally important issue both locally and nationally.

A vigil was held outside Blackburn Town Hall to mark World Suicide Prevention Day on Tuesday, September 10 helping to amplify a yearlong programme of events, activities, training opportunities and suicide awareness raising in the borough.

As part of World Mental Health Day, the Council is raising further awareness of a national alliance aiming to eradicate suicide in the UK as part of its drive on suicide prevention.

The Zero Suicide Alliance’s coalition of like-minded partners are working together to help rid the UK of suicide by initially raising awareness of a free online suicide prevention training programme.

The message from NHS partners on World Mental Health Day is if you are concerned you, or someone you know, might be experiencing a mental health problem, contact your GP practice.

They will be able to identify any issues you might be facing and can talk you through the treatments options available.

Should you not want to speak to your GP first, a list of partners, services and areas of support for mental health has been put together.

One of those partner services, Time to Change Blackburn with Darwen, will have staff on hand in Asda Blackburn from 10am-2pm on Thursday 10th to talk to members of the public about mental health issues and offer support.

The week of World Mental Health Day has also seen the launch of Public Health England and the NHS’s new mental health campaign: “Every Mind Matters.”

The campaign aims to support everyone to feel more confident in taking action to look after their mental health and wellbeing by self-care.

Self-care techniques and general lifestyle changes can help manage the symptoms of many mental health problems. They may also help prevent some problems from developing or getting worse. Techniques include: staying aware of your mental health; nourishing your social life; peer support; making time for therapeutic activities and looking after your physical health.

Councillor Zamir Khan, Assistant Elected Member for Public Health and Wellbeing and Local Mental Health Champion, said:

World Mental Health Day is a great opportunity for us to continue raising awareness around suicide prevention and mental health. Suicide is tragic and its effects are devastating for family members, friends, colleagues and the local community. But as we saw at our recent vigil there is a great deal of positive energy locally and a momentum behind people wanting to help and make a difference. The more support available for mental health the better as removing stigma is so vitally important. If you’re suffering in silence please don’t – contact your GP, contact any of the services we’re promoting – and the help will be there.

Dr Rakesh Sharma, Clinical lead at NHS East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Groups said:

Talking about mental health with friends and family might not seem that important, but there are still so many people who suffer on their own, isolated and unwilling to ask for help. Talking about mental health is the first step to a solution, sharing with others is brilliant for your emotional wellbeing and by talking about these issues we can help to crush any remaining stigma and help people get the care they need.

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