11th Dec, 2016

Volunteers highlight Mental Health Day

Shaun Reynolds 25th Oct, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A TRIO of Coventry-based volunteers celebrated World Mental Health Day and Schizophrenia Awareness Week with a series of events in the city centre and at Warwick University.

Marc Woodley, Baljit Hayre and Karen Groves put plan into action on October 5 at West Orchards Shopping Mall and spoke to various members of the public about mental health.

Marc, who works for the Coventry branch of Rethink Mental Illness, said roughly 50 people discussed topics ranging from the Duke of Edinburgh award and to how mental health problems in the UK account for 23 per cent of all ill health.

Marc added: “It’s not just the big things that matter in mental health, we can all do the small things like sharing a cup of tea with a neighbour and asking how they are – those things are just as important.

“You don’t need to be an expert to talk about mental health in your local community – we can all support someone we know who has a mental health problem.”

The information stand later moved to Warwick University’s Student Union on October 7.

Volunteers Baljit Hayre said: “It was fresher’s week at Warwick and we spoke to a variety of students from all over the world about how they could be supported and even help their new friends with mental health issues in Coventry.

“We highlighted how the university has an excellent helpline, open seven days a week, for students as well as its own student counselling service.

“We assured them if they contacted Rethink Mental Illness we would give them the most appropriate advice for them to resolve their issues as safely and promptly as possible.”

Rethink Mental Illness released details during the awareness week – which ran from October 5 to October 10 – of a new survey with over 1000 people revealing the widespread impact of inadequate support for people with the schizophrenia.

The report confirmed that a quarter of people have to wait over a year to get any talking therapies and a shocking 89 per cent of people reported that not getting the right support has had a negative impact on their overall quality of life.

Rethink Mental Illness CEO Mark Winstanley said that Schizophrenia affects 1 in 100 ordinary people.

Mark added: “It’s not a rare illness at all and what’s often misunderstood is that people with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and psychosis can lead a normal life if they get the right support.

“Far too many people are not getting that, and that’s having a very real and devastating impact on the day to day things most of us take for granted.

“By 2020, we want England to have a mental health care system that is fairly funded according to local and national need, delivering high quality mental health care, at the time and place that people need it.”