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Mental Health Awareness Week draws to a close

17 October 2012

Dr Ciarán Newell delivering his talk as a part of Mental Health Awareness Week Bournemouth University reflects on a week of activities aimed at raising awareness and removing stigma surrounding mental health.

BU has been working on the ‘Time to Change’ campaign with Dorset Healthcare, Poole Community Mental Health Team, Dorset Mental Health Forum and East Dorset Mental Health Carers’ Forum to deliver a range of events to mark Mental Health Awareness Day. A number of local charities who support issues surrounding mental health have also been involved in the week.

The final talk in this series, titled ‘What’s in a name; labelling and stigma in mental health’ was expertly delivered on Tuesday 16 October by Dr Ciarán Newell, Consultant Nurse at Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Newell said on the subject, “Stigma isn’t the problem, because it places the blame at the door of those who are stigmatised. Discrimination is the problem. It is the problem of society that discriminates against those with mental health issues. We need to challenge this discrimination and educate in this area. We need to help society to overcome these discrimination issues.”

The talk took place as a part of the ‘Time to Change’ campaign and Dr Newell continued, “Getting behind programmes like Time to Change would be a concrete way to show support for a change away from discrimination of mental health.”

Other events during the awareness week included a beach walk, with the Mayor of Bournemouth Councillor Phil Stanley-Watts, discussion groups and a football tournament. A number of seminars and talks also took place, on subjects such as ‘Dispelling the myths about self-harm’.

Dr James Palfreman-Kay, equality and diversity advisor at Bournemouth University, said, “It is good to get people talking openly about mental health issues at the university and within the wider community. The impact of this week has been illustrated by the number of people attending the events, the pledges that have been made and the positive feedback given.”

There are more events planned this month as Bournemouth University also looks to celebrate Black History Month throughout October.

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