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Bid to end stigma of mental health issues

11:40am Sunday 10th August 2008

A RADIO station is joining a campaign to end the stigma attached to mental health conditions.

The Advertiser ran a series of features in June tackling mental health issues along with the BBC.

Now Brunel FM is planning a week-long campaign.

The radio station will air a series of interviews and features from August 18 to 22.

Keith Stainer, of Brunel FM, said: “Locally mental health is top of the agenda for many people and employers.

“At last the stigma linked to mental health is being discarded and a greater openness and honesty is replacing it.

“Swindon is fortunate to have some first class support services for people suffering mental ill health – helping many to overcome their problems.”

The campaign is being led by The Mindful Employer Scheme, which aims to get people with mental health conditions 

back in work.

It hopes to persuade local employers to support workplace visits and possible work experience placements.

So far the Swindon Primary Care Trust and Swindon Council are two of the employers that have signed up to its charter.

David Latham, who is leading the Mindful Employer scheme in the town, is encouraging firms to make a difference.

“There are plenty of employers who are positive on mental health and we are asking companies to give a boost to people wishing to return to employment,” he said.

“A simple workplace tour, meeting and chat to staff and management can really help build confidence.”

The Mindful Employer scheme is managed by the Richmond Fellowship and Adrian Embling, of the fellowship, said: 

“A good many people who have been through mental health problems are very skilled, intelligent and conscientious. “The reality is that they can make loyal and productive employees and can help alleviate skills shortages in the Swindon area.”

In Swindon, the organisations Phoenix and Leaves offer people with mental health problems a safe place to work as well as operating successful businesses.