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World Mental Health Day event challenges stigma and discrimination

​Service users, carers and members of the public are invited to attend an annual event organised by staff at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) to celebrate World Mental Health Day and reduce the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental ill-health.

The event on Tuesday, 10 October at Lowestoft Library will offer advice and information about local support services and get people talking about their own experiences.

NSFT will be on hand to provide information about their services, including the Norfolk and Waveney Wellbeing Service, who offer support to people with emotional issues such as low mood, anxiety, depression or stress.

People can also talk to staff from The Recovery College who provide a range of courses and workshops to service users and carers to develop their skills and help them to understand mental health, identify goals and support their access to further opportunities.

Attendees will have the chance to speak to representatives from other organisations including Feedback, Lowestoft Men’s Shed, Domestic Violence Forum, Surviving United, Clinks Care Farm, Alzheimer’s Society, MIND, Voiceability, Turning Point and the Samaritans.
One Life Suffolk will also be at the event offering free NHS physical health checks.

Paul Anderson, Assistant Practitioner for NSFT’s Great Yarmouth and Waveney Recovery Team and Karen Slatcher, Mental Health Practitioner for NSFT’s Wellbeing Service have jointly organised this event for the past six years, alternating the location between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

They believe it is important to take information out into the community to foster conversations about mental health, especially if people haven’t experienced mental ill health themselves, or know someone who has.

Paul Anderson said: “As we know, mental health can affect many people in all walks of life and, of course, we want to support their families and friends who can be in a caring role.

“We need to fight the stigma and negativity that surrounds mental health and give people information that empowers them to seek help for themselves or support others.

“I feel that raising the profile of mental health, bringing it in line with physical health, is paramount. After all, mental disorders affect one in four of us.”

Karen Slatcher said: “In my role I work with people who say their families, friends or work colleagues don’t understand the impact that their mental health issues have on their lives.

“People can feel misunderstood, and may delay seeking support as they believe admitting mental health problems is a sign of weakness, or they feel they should be able to manage the problem themselves.

“This event is a chance for people to talk openly in a safe space about how mental health affects them and ask for help if they need it right now, or gain information for when they may need it in the future.”

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