Future Voices: It’s good to talk about mental health worries

A woman, named only as Rebecca, poses for the media as the Metropolitan Police's anti-shooting unit,

A woman, named only as Rebecca, poses for the media as the Metropolitan Police's anti-shooting unit, Trident, displays confiscated firearms as it launches its ninth annual advertising campaign. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date Wednesday September 30, 2009. A campaign urging young women not to stash guns for gangsters was launched today to help combat the number of shootings. Black teenagers in London aged between 15 and 19 years are being targeted under the initiative, which follows a recent rise in the numbers of young women being arrested and convicted for possessing weapons. See PA story POLICE Guns. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire - Credit: PA

It is increasingly important to talk about mental health issues - not just by professionals, but also be people in government.

This is especially so with recent press about the need to improve mental health services in England, particularly for children, and the Time to Change programme, which is campaigning to end mental health stigma and discrimination.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb recently said: 'My family has had our own experience of mental health issues, but my family is not unique. Our experience has made me even more determined to bring mental health out of the shadows and fight for better care for all of the families affected'.

Mental health issues have been ignored or dismissed by people for generations, a taboo subject that is more common than many people realise.

One in four people will experience a mental health problem in any given year, according to Time to Change, and one in 10 young people will experience one. These statistics show how important it is to recognise mental health problems and support people who are affected by them.

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The Time to Change programme is campaigning for more people to talk about these issues and learn the facts, not the commonly believed myths and the derogatory terms. This is important because mental health discrimination needs to stop, and should perhaps be punished in the same way as other types of discrimination, as it can often have the same effect. All that people need to do is to start a conversation, and that can work wonders.

Another way to help is to pledge to end mental health discrimination on the Time to Change website.

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As celebrity Stephen Fry said: 'Mental health issues are as real as the weather, and equally not under one's control.'

The Time to Change campaign and the place to make a pledge against mental health stigma can be found here: http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/ Kristina Fox, 16, Dereham

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