Mental health campaigners in Staffordshire say an e-book in which they share their stories could be “life-saving”.
In the free e-book, customers of not-for-profit Brighter Futures, which is based in Hanley, discuss their first-hand experiences of mental health conditions and offer inspiring advice.
In Staffordshire, more than 82,000 people aged 18-64 are predicted to have a mental health problem this year.
The digital book was created to help raise awareness as part of Brighter Futures’ #ShareStoriesNotStigma campaign.
Brighter Futures customer Howard Dexter, aged 62 from Hanley, shared his story in the e-book. He described how he was initially diagnosed with depression and sectioned under the Mental Health Act before being correctly diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.
He said: “It was a relief to finally have a diagnosis of Bipolar; it meant I could start to get the right treatment I needed and the medication helped me be stable.
“It was a little daunting sharing my story, as it’s so personal, but if it helps one person on the street relate to their life and reach out for help it’s worth it. I really feel like we’ve helped to create something which could genuinely be life-saving and I’d encourage as many people as possible to read it.”
Sharon Godwin, Brighter Futures Clubhouse Network Manager, said: “There’s still so much that needs to be done to help people who are experiencing poor mental health.
“Our helpline service, Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline received over 950 calls related to suicide over 12 months – that’s in Staffordshire alone.
“We hope this e-book will not only help to further the conversation about mental health, but actually save lives. We are encouraging people to show support by sharing our social media posts about the e-book using #ShareStoriesNotStigma.”
Brighter Futures’ support workers help thousands of people every year through personalised mental health support, accommodation, employment and training. This work is backed up by specialist staff, support groups, a clubhouse network, as well as homelessness and outreach services, and employment and volunteering opportunities.
To download the e-book visit www.brighter-futures.org.uk or follow brighterfuturesNW on Facebook or @BFNW on Twitter.