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Progress in mental health field is 'very slow' warns Welling support charity

PUBLISHED: 14:57 02 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:19 03 March 2017

CEO Raymond Sheehy at 30th anniversary event of Welling-based mental health charity Bridge

CEO Raymond Sheehy at 30th anniversary event of Welling-based mental health charity Bridge

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Bridge celebrates its 30th anniversary this year

Dr Antonis Kousoulis at 30th anniversary event of Welling-based mental health charity BridgeDr Antonis Kousoulis at 30th anniversary event of Welling-based mental health charity Bridge

Leading experts and writers came together to share their knowledge and own personal experiences of mental illness at conference last week.

Welling-based charity Bridge helps support 1,000 people a year with a range of services.

For 30 years the charity has provided a pathway for people struggling with long-term mental health problems.

At its anniversary conference last week, the audience heard from campaigners and health experts.

Writer Rachel Kelly at 30th anniversary event of Welling-based mental health charity BridgeWriter Rachel Kelly at 30th anniversary event of Welling-based mental health charity Bridge

“Progress is happening in the field of mental health and wellbeing, but it is very slow” said Bridge CEO Raymond Sheehy.

“However there are some very important practical things you can do to help people with mental health problems, like really listening to them and treating them like human beings rather a diagnosis.

“Our experience has taught us that giving people a sense of purpose – ideally a job – and someone who cares and listens, is key. A little support can prevent unnecessary crisis. We just need to look at the evidence we have heard at the conference, and act together to do something about it.”

Speaker Dr Antonis Kousoulis from Mental Health Foundation warned 50 per cent of adult mental health problems were established by the age of 14, and 75 per cent by early adulthood.

He added: “Good mental health is a state for an individual but an asset for society. The government has recognised this and hopefully it will translate into more money for much needed mental health services in the next few years.”

“I think involving people with lived experience of mental health problems, as Bridge did at the conference, and giving them a central point in whatever services we want to design in future is very important,” said Dr Kousoulis.

Rachel Kelly, mental health campaigner and writer said: “What I particularly like about Bridge is that it mirrors my belief that people need strategies they can adopt themselves on the road to recovery. A ‘one size fits all approach’ does not suit everyone.”

For further information on Bridge visit: www.bridgementalhealth.org.

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