Thursday, 24 January 2013

Muir secures Council commitment to Stamp out Mental Health Stigma

I am very grateful to have secured unanimous support from North Down Borough Council for my motion to Stamp out Mental Health Stigma. Council met on Tuesday 15 February 2013 and endorsed motion reading “That this Council notes with concern current levels of stigma, discrimination and negative attitudes towards people with experience of mental ill-health and endorses the Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health’s Change Your Mind – Stamp Out Stigma campaign to address these attitudes.”

The values of a society can be measured by attitudes and support it gives to those who are most vulnerable, who, in addition to the difficulties associated with the mental ill health suffer from stigma and discrimination, social isolation and poverty. I therefore felt it important for Council to send a strong message in support of Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health’s Change your Mind – Stamp out Stigma campaign.

Stigma must be tackled throughout society so that it no longer remains a major barrier to equality nor impacts on the ability to seek help early and the possibility of recovery. Stigma leads to fear and mistrust against people living with mental illness and their families, prejudice and discrimination with family and friends turning their backs on people with mental illness. With 1 in 4 adults experiencing at least one diagnosable mental health problem and only 230 out of 300 who require help visiting their GP need for action is clear.

We can all play our role by taking just one of the actions outlined by Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health. Whether its meeting with people who experience mental ill-health to find out what stigma looks like and how people wants it to be addressed or organising an anti-stigma workshop opportunities for action are immense. We can also take action to look after our own mental health or securing commitments to stamp out stigma through motions, debates, questions.

Personally athletics and fitness is my way to look after my own mental health. I am very grateful to all the Councillors who spoke and voted in support of this motion, together we have taken one small step towards an end to the negative attitudes towards people with experience of mental ill-health.

Decision to adopt motion to be ratified at Council on Tuesday 29 January 2013.

No comments: