World Mental Health Day saw a flurry of positive steps to improve mental health and awareness of mental health issues.
In England, suicides remain the leading cause of death of men under 45 and around 4,500 people take their own lives each year.
CALM, Campaign Against People Living Miserably, received recognition for their government petition to #StandAgainstSuicide as a Minister for Suicide Prevention was announced.
Jackie Doyle-Price MP has taken the role in the English government and will lead efforts to cut the number of suicides and overcome the stigma that stops people seeking help. She commented:
I understand how tragic, devastating and long-lasting the effect of suicide can be on families and communities.
In my time as health minister I have met many people who have been bereaved by suicide and their stories of pain and loss will stay with me for a long time.
It’s these people who need to be at the heart of what we do and I welcome this opportunity to work closely with them, as well as experts, to oversee a cross-government suicide prevention plan, making their sure their views are always heard.
Other developments on World Mental Health Day included the first Global Ministerial Mental Health summit with 50 countries in attendance in London, while the UK government pledged £1.8 million to the Samaritans helpline so that it remains free for the next four years to provide 24 hour support.
Research by the World Health Organisation showed that half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated.
To help address the problem, creative education company Altru Drama are touring schools in the North West of England with their performance ‘What’s up Alfie?’ to help children aged 4-7 to help them learn how to manage their feelings and emotions.
Each section of the play helps Alfie (and the audience) explore one aspect of mental health, from resilience and not giving up to managing friendships and communicating with others.
For more information on mental health contact Mind.
Picture from Time To Change.