Faiths come together to help put a stop to mental health discrimination

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To mark Nottingham Mental Health Awareness Weeks, Nottinghamshire Healthcare, together with the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham held an ‘Opening Minds’ event at Nottingham Council House.

Over 50 people from across a variety of faiths attended the event which aimed to raise awareness of mental health discrimination, discuss how it might be evident in their faith communities and explored what could be done to address the issue. The event was linked to the national ‘Time to Change’ initiative which works to end mental health discrimination.

A number of representatives spoke at the event, including Professor Mike Cooke, CBE, Chief Executive at Nottinghamshire Healthcare and The Venerable Peter Hill, The Archdeacon of Nottingham, who shared their personal experiences of mental health.

A series of workshops where delegates discussed ways in which they could look to highlight and tackle these issues further and collectively engage with each other also took place.

Professor Mike Cooke said: “I was delighted to be involved in this event and extremely proud that my colleagues at the Trust, along with our partners in the faith communities, are leading the way in this area of research. I really do think we identified where the NHS and different faiths can work together to put an end to stigma associated with mental health problems. The fact that this event has been held during Nottingham Mental Health Awareness Weeks makes it particularly poignant. I look forward to seeing this work develop further as I am passionate to see the stigma around mental health eradicated. ”

The Archdeacon of Nottingham, the Ven Peter Hill, said: “One in four of us will suffer from mental health issues during our lifetime. It has been excellent to share experiences and ideas with other faith partners and with Nottinghamshire Healthcare on this vitally important and challenging issue. Faith communities need to do more to oppose the stigma and discrimination that mental health sufferers often experience. We hope building on this event will help break down barriers and increase support and understanding for those with mental health problems and for their families and carers.”