Wavertree MP Luciana Berger said people were often unable to access the services they need
Six out of 10 people in Liverpool who have suffered from mental health problems said they had to deal with stigma or discrimination as a result, according to an ECHO survey.
Some 84% of readers who answered our survey into mental health for today’s World Mental Health Day said they personally had suffered from a condition.
Another 13% said a family member had suffered from a mental health problem - meaning virtually everyone who took part in our survey had been closely affected by the issue.
Of those who said they had a mental health condition, 62% said that they personally had experienced stigma or discrimination as a result.
In a related question, 21% of these people said they had been treated unfavourably at work in relation to their mental health, while 22 per cent said their employers were aware of their condition but did not provide any support.
Figures suggest one in four people in Britain go through mental health problems every year, but too often mental illness is seen as less important than physical conditions.
Recent high-profile campaigns, like the Heads Together initiative led by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have also helped break the silence and stigma around mental health.
The Time to Change campaign, led by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, says: “For people with mental health problems not being able to talk about it can be one of the worst parts of the illness.
“So by getting people talking about mental health we can break down stereotypes, improve relationships, aid recovery and take the stigma out of something that affects us all.”
ECHO readers did not rate the mental health services available to them very well in our survey.
A total of 53% of people who answered our survey said mental health services in their local area were ‘very poor’ or ‘somewhat poor’, with only 19% saying they were good or very good.
When asked what could be done to improve them, three quarters of people said that services needed more money, while a similar number said that access to counselling should be made easier.
Taking medication emerged as the most common way for people in Merseyside to manage their issues.
Our readers said playing sport, eating healthily, attending therapy and practising mindfulness techniques were also popular for managing their state of mind.
Wavertree MP Luciana Berger, a long-standing campaigner on mental health issues, brought together 160 MPs to write to Prime Minister Theresa May this week calling for mental health spending to be ring-fenced.
They wrote: “We see this injustice every day in our constituencies. Our constituents face long waits to access mental health services, if they get a referral at all.
“The number of young people and adults turning up at A&E in a crisis continues to rise. The amount and quality of contact provided in the community has diminished significantly. And too often inpatient treatment means leaving family and friends for a unit hundreds of miles from home.”
Ms Berger said: “As constituency MPs we see the reality of people with mental health problems unable to access the services they need.
“Talking is important but it is not enough. The government – and Mrs May who has made repeated promises – must act today.”
A free NHS service offering quick and easy access to talking therapies, practical support, and employment advice. Aims to help people who have common mental health problems such as feeling stressed, feeling low in mood (depressed) or very nervous (anxiety). Service is available through GPs in Liverpool, a range of voluntary sector organisations and by self-referral either online (www.talkliverpool.nhs.uk) or by phone (0151 228 2300).
Set up by Liverpool comedian Jake Mills, from Croxteth Park, who was suffering from depression in 2013 and tried to take his own life.
Since then he’s turned his life around and is devoting his time to helping others dealing with depression.
Website (www.chasingthestigma.co.uk) includes a Hub of Hope database of grassroots organisations working to tackle mental health issues.
Provides specialist inpatient and community mental health, learning disabilities, addiction management and brain injury services in Merseyside.
Services cover areas such as alcohol, eating disorders, ADHD, dementia, learning disabilities, and drug dependency. Referrals often come through GPs.
Mersey Care runs sites across Merseyside including the Clock Hospital, a £25m mental health hospital off Rice Lane in Walton.
A multi-cultural mental health resource service, primarily for people from black and racial minority communities. The centre was established in 1991 by Granby Community Mental Health Group. Staff will offer support, advice and guidance in both practical and emotional matters. For more information go to www.maryseacolehouse.com or call 0151 707 0319.
Works with young people ages ten to 25. Services include counselling for difficulties affecting emotional, physical and mental well-being. There are also group sessions offered around issues such as self harm and anger awareness.
A Liverpool-based counselling charity which employs fully qualified counsellors who have extensive experience working with a wide range of personal and work related problems.
CALM, the campaign against living miserably, is a charity dedicated to preventing male suicide, the biggest single killer of men aged 20 - 45 in the UK.
Offers support to men in the UK, of any age, who are down or in crisis via a helpline (0800 585858) and website (www.thecalmzone.net) .
Mind offers two confidential mental health information services, the Mind Infoline and a legal advice service.
Aims to improve quality of life for anyone affected by mental illness. A helpline is available on 0300 304 7000 from 4.30pm - 10.30pm every evening.