Bishop's mental health signing 2012

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Bishop Peter - pledging to work to ending discrimination against people with mental health problemsThe Bishop of Chester today demonstrated his support for 'Time to Change' - England's biggest mental health anti-stigma campaign - by signing a mental health anti-discrimination pledge. Time to Change is run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, and funded by the Department of Health and Comic Relief.

The campaign aims to end the discrimination that faces people with mental health problems.

As part of getting organisations to support the campaign, prominent people are signing a pledge aimed at creating a positive shift in public attitudes towards mental health issues.

Bishop Peter Forster is the latest public figure to sign the pledge which will be displayed publicly. It states: “We’re pledging to take action to reduce mental health discrimination as part of Time to Change.”

He explained: “Many people struggle to understand the experience of mental ill health. As a result they sometimes judge people unfairly, and that is why we have such stigma and discrimination. It is time to stop that, to listen and to consider people with the respect and compassion due to them.

“I pray for the success of all the hard work being done in our diocese to get people to talk more openly about mental health, to reduce misunderstanding of the issues involved, and to end discrimination. With more empathy and understanding of mental ill health, our society will become a better place.”

Church communities can be good places to start conversations about mental health issues, and the Diocese of Chester has been involved through the work of its Mental Health Forum which has recently produced a resource for church communities called ‘1 in 4’. The title is a reference to the fact one in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives. What’s more, nine out of ten people affected say they have faced stigma and discrimination as a result. 

“Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia can affect anyone at any time, and therefore it’s likely that many people in our congregations have been or are affected,”  said Jane Knight, our diocesan Head of Counselling Services, pictured above with Bishop Peter as he signed the pledge.

The ‘1 in 4’ resource, created in the Diocese of Chester, has been adopted as a model for the national advice of the Church of England. It can be downloaded from the diocesan website …

1in4pdf  

The resource aims to promote mental health awareness and provide information on how church communities can support people who care for, or are experiencing, mental health problems. 

* The diocesan Mental Health Forum will hold a special service on a theme of mental health at St Peter’s Church, Minshull Vernon, a few miles north-west of Crewe, on Wednesday 10 October (World Mental Health Day). All are welcome to attend – whether involved directly or indirectly, with mental health issues. 

For more information about the campaign to end mental health discrimination visit
www.time-to-change.org.uk