08 October 2021
We all need to take action to tackle inequality for people with serious mental illness
Mental Health Day (Sunday 10th October) Avon and
Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust is championing
equality for people with serious mental illness.
This year the theme for World Mental Health Day is 'mental
health in an unequal world' and AWP is calling on everyone to come
together to take action to tackle the inequalities experienced by
people with serious mental illness.
We want everyone to think about the world they want to see that
reflects equality in all things mental health, and the unique
contribution you can make to turn that into reality. This
could be having a conversation about mental health, checking in
with someone you've not spoken to for a while, making a commitment
to give yourself some time to reflect on how you are feeling,
asking your local MP to support better funding of and access to
mental health services.
Dominic Hardisty, Chief Executive at AWP, has pledged: "My
pledge for World Mental Health Day, is that we will do everything
we can in our services to improve the physical health of the people
we care for, and my ask of everyone working in the health and care
sector across the world is, let's do everything we can to give
these people better life chances."
The life expectation for people with a serious mental illness is
15-20 years lower than for the general population. In most cases,
this is not due to their mental illness but because of poor
physical health, or other conditions related to mental illness,
like diabetes and high blood pressure. That's a really big
inequality and it's time for change.
We have made a short
film for World Mental Health Day highlighting what an equal
world for people with serious mental health illness means and looks
like to our staff, patients, service users and system
partners. Please take a look at this and then let us know
what your pledge and commitment is to end inequality for people
with serious mental health illness.
You can share your thoughts, pledges and ideas on our social
media channels (Twitter - @AWPNHS and Facebook - @AWPNHS) on Sunday
10th October or you can send them to email@example.com
Now is the time to take action and move things forward for
people affected by mental illness.
AWP is committed to tackling inequalities through a number of
projects including working with its Strategic Experts by Experience
Group (SEG) to co-produce and continue to improve services. The
Trust also provides an Individual Placement and Support (IPS)
service where dedicated Employment Specialists work alongside
Recovery and Early Intervention teams to support patients and
service users in finding and staying in work. They help with career
progression, creating CVs, job applications and interview
A patient, who has been helped by the IPS team, said: "I have
lived with anxiety, low self-esteem and depression for years.
Working is my lifeline because it gives me a purpose, a reason to
get out of bed in the morning. I was out of work for most of the
pandemic, then when I got a job I told my employer about my mental
health issues. He was awful, he didn't understand at all and I
ended up being bullied. The mental health team helped me look for
another job, filling out applications, re-writing my CV, getting
better at interviews and just keeping me positive. Then I got a job
and I'm still there, settling in nicely, but I couldn't have done
it without the team keeping me going. It goes to show how hard it
is for people with mental health issues because there is a lot of
unfairness out there."