19 October 2015

A brush with fame

b/a250"Mental Illness is nothing to be ashamed of but stigma and bias shame us all" Bill Clinton.

This quote forms the centre piece of a photo collage created by service users and staff at Longfox Unit in Weston-super-Mare featuring over 60 famous people with a mental health diagnosis (See picture). The framed collage was unveiled recently to celebrate World Mental Health Day.

Representatives from Rethink, the Ambulance Service, Avon and Somerset Constabulary, Weston College and North Somerset Black Minority Ethnic Network came together with service users, carers and staff for the unveiling. The event helped to raise discussion about the stigma associated with mental illness.

Sarah Ford, Ward Manager said "Mental illness affects 1 in 4 people but people with mental health problems experience discrimination and prejudice in almost every aspect of their lives. The stigma of mental illness can be more disabling than the illness itself. The collage shows that a mental health diagnosis should be no barrier to success."

Tiff Earle, Consultant Psychiatrist comments "Sadly, up to 50% of patients with mental health issues report encountering stigma in their communities. The recently published Five Year Forward View - Mental Health Taskforce, has identified Stigma as part of its top 3 priorities to tackle. I am hugely encouraged by this, as tackling stigma in mental health is one of my passions. The fantastic artwork, created by patients, is the first of many anti stigma initiatives we intend to carry out in North Somerset."

The event was also used to unveil artwork from an art competition the Trust has run with The 1 in 4 Mental Wellbeing Centre in North Somerset. The winners were given the opportunity to display their work on Juniper Ward at Longfox Unit as part of the refurbishment to make the ward a more bright and vibrant space.

To view entries from the competition click here.

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