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Time to Talk Day: Campaigners at Ipswich Library start positive conversations about mental illness

PUBLISHED: 19:30 02 February 2017

Agencies and campaigners at the Time to Talk event at Ipswich Library.

Agencies and campaigners at the Time to Talk event at Ipswich Library.

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Stigma around mental ill health prevents sufferers from getting the help they need. They were words of a campaigner during an event at Ipswich Library today to mark Time to Talk, a nationwide push to get people speaking more openly about mental health.

The Ipswich caterpillars. (L-R) Brian Turner, Paula Macintosh and Lucy Twaits.The Ipswich caterpillars. (L-R) Brian Turner, Paula Macintosh and Lucy Twaits.

Maddi Cassell, East of England coordinator for Time to Change, which organises the annual drive, said: “Stigma and discrimination has a really serious impact on people with mental health issues.

“It’s stopping them getting the support they need. It has a negative impact on their life so the more we encourage people to talk about it, the more support they will get and the better things will be.”

Around 70 people visited throughout the day and enjoyed face painting, craft activities, balloon animals, refreshments and more importantly engaged with representatives working in the field of mental wellbeing.

It was all organised by the ‘caterpillars’, a small group of ambassadors based in Ipswich which is affiliated to Time to Change, a positive movement backed by the Government to end mental health discrimination.

Allan Williams from the Suffolk Wellbeing Service getting crafty at the Time to Talk event at Ipswich Library.Allan Williams from the Suffolk Wellbeing Service getting crafty at the Time to Talk event at Ipswich Library.

Members Brian Turner, Paula Macintosh and Lucy Twaits have all experienced mental health issues in some form.

They attended the awareness day with bandages around their head, to symbolise the “unseen injuries” of mental illness.

Paula said being part of the group, as well as talking to members of the public at events like this, gave her confidence and made her feel supported. She added: “Being alone is the hardest thing about mental health problems.

“It makes your problems worse because you go over and over them in your head and it makes you think too much.”

The event was also a chance to break down some of the myths people may hold about mental ill health.

Brian said one that he had accounted was the belief that all people with psychological issues were simply “mad”.

Maddi said she was “really proud” of the caterpillars, which was formed at a weekly support group run by Ipswich Library called Open Spaces.

Agencies with a stall at yesterday’s event were: Suffolk Mind, Realise Futures, Voiceability, Suffolk User Forum, Suffolk Family Carers, Julian Support, Suffolk Infolink and the Suffolk Wellbeing Service.

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