Sinn Féin MLA and Chair of the Health Committee Sue Ramsey has helped launch NI Association of Mental Health’s (NIAMH) guidance on stamping out stigma.
Ms Ramsey said,
“NIAMH is one of the largest charities here providing support services for people affected by mental ill health providing counselling, supported housing, day support and advocacy.
“During Mental Health Week we held an event, which was a fun way of raising awareness around mental health issues. It seems to me that momentum is growing and that finally we are beginning to talk about mental health in an open and honest way.
“The stark reality is that 1 in 4 of us will be affected at some point in our lives by a mental health issue. So mental ill health is common - we will either suffer from it at some stage or a member of our family will, or one of our friends.
“However, there is still a stigma associated with mental ill health. This stigma can act as a barrier for people affected coming forward and seeking help. It can also make recovery more difficult when people experience negative reactions from family, work colleagues or neighbours.
“These negative views and stereotyping lead to people being isolated and discriminated against and it is therefore essential that we all work towards breaking down these barriers and putting an end to the silence.
NIAMH “Stamp out Stigma” campaign will help address some of the issues highlighted and allow people with mental heath issues the confidence to come forward and get the proper treatment to lead a normal life again.”