David encouraging people to change their mind mental health

DAVID Meade has joined the growing list of celebrities backing the Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health’s (Niamh)‘Change Your Mind, Stamp Out Stigma’ campaign to eliminate negative attitudes towards people with experience of mental ill-health.

Banbridge man David, whose TV series The David Meade Project was recently televised on BBC1, highlighted the mental health challenges he faced as a teenager, and encouraged others to be more open about their mental health.

“For me mental health is one of those little, silent things that is fundamental to the fabric of our success as individuals; it is essential to all our happiness and yet it is so easy for us to ignore,” he commented.

“When I was in my teens, following the unexpected death of my dad, I faced some fairly significant mental health challenges; but I don’t consider that as being a particularly black period in my life as I think it helped me to become a stronger person today.”

David, who is an Ambassador for Niamh’s (Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health) ‘Change Your Mind, Stamp Out Stigma’ campaign to end stigma and discrimination towards people with experience of mental ill-health, also encouraged everyone to be more open and honest about their own mental health and wellbeing.

He continued: “The only thing that will break down stigma towards mental illness is for people to become more open and honest, to talk truthfully about their mental health and to ask their friends and family about theirs.

“Every now and then, when I discuss some of my past mental health challenges, I can see people opening up and feeling much more free and easy in discussing their own mental health difficulties, to realise it’s okay, they’re not alone.

“The more we talk about mental health, the more accepted it becomes and we can all be that little bit more honest, more understanding of each other, and that in turn will make it much easier for everyone to find the help they need.”

In October last year Niamh launched its ‘Change your Mind, Stamp out Stigma’ campaign to bring an end to any ongoing stigma or discrimination associated with mental ill-health.

The campaign is still going strong and Professor Peter McBride, Chief Executive of Niamh, welcomed David’s comments and support for the campaign, which he believes is particularly timely as people come under increasing pressure in today’s economic climate.

He added: “Stigma is a terrible thing for anyone to face; it can not only demoralise individuals but it can discourage people from seeking the help they need, they become stereotyped, marginalised and discriminated against, often with further detrimental effects on their health and wellbeing.

“Our ‘Change Your Mind, Stamp Out Stigma’ campaign aims to change negative attitudes and behaviour towards people with experience of mental ill-health, encouraging everyone to think about their views of mental illness and the impact stigma has.

“Part of our campaign is encouraging those we look up to, be it our community leaders, our entertainers or those we most admire, to take the lead by talking about their own mental health and wellbeing and help to spread the anti-stigma message.”

For more information on Niamh’s ‘Change Your Mind, Stamp Out Stigma’ campaign, please visit the Niamh website at www.niamhwellbeing.org.