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New mental health campaign urges people to 'talk about it'


Public Health Agency

Type: News
Region: Republic of Ireland
Northern Ireland

With almost one in five people showing signs of a possible mental health problem, Northern Ireland's new campaign on mental health, which features legendary boxing trainer Gerry Storey, is urging people to talk about their problems.The Public Health Agency (PHA) campaign, which will raise awareness of the issue across TV, radio, print and online media, aims to highlight that people who have experienced feelings of anxiety, distress or despair can go on to recover with support.Mary Black, Assistant Director for Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement at the PHA, said: "Many people try to cover up the fact that they are feeling down or experiencing anxiety, distress or despair, and men in particular can find it difficult to open up. The previous campaign work of the PHA has encouraged people to discuss their feelings. The new drive builds on this aspect and focuses on recovery."Talking about your feelings to someone you trust, whether it's a friend or family member, or a GP, charitable organisation or a support service such as Lifeline, can be the first step towards recovery."It takes strength to talk about having a mental health issue, but as in the old adage 'a problem shared is a problem halved', opening up about your feelings can make all the difference."The campaign features a man who thought that he could deal with his problems himself, but then realised that he should talk about it, and as a result started to feel better. The TV ad also stars well-known boxing trainer Gerry Storey playing the role of the man's confidante.Health Minister Edwin Poots MLA said: "Men in particular are often unwilling to ask for help when they are experiencing problems or emotional distress. However, bottling up these harmful emotions is the worst thing that we can do and invariably makes matters worse. "The Public Health Agency and local mental health organisations are actively working together to promote a culture of help-seeking whilst at the same time attempting to address the stigma that is still, unfortunately, associated with mental ill-health. This is vital because, as a society, we need to be more aware that mental health and physical health are inextricably linked and that maintaining positive mental health is just as important as maintaining good physical health."Help seeking is a sign of strength rather than a display of weakness."The new campaign is just one element of a major programme of work by the PHA to deal with mental health promotion and suicide prevention.More information on looking after your mental health and the support which is available across Northern Ireland can be found at  You can also talk to your GP for advice.If you or someone you know is in distress or despair, call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000. This is a confidential service, where trained counsellors will listen and help immediately on the phone and follow up with other support if necessary. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also access the Lifeline website at www.lifelinehelpline.infoENDSLaunch photos taken at LA Fitness, Belfast. 





Rights: Public
Suggested citation:

Public Health Agency. (2013) New mental health campaign urges people to 'talk about it' [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 15th November 2019].


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