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We are already gathering support for the campaign! Pictured here are Belfast Mental Health Rights Group members Grace Cassidy, former Health Minister Michael McGimpsey MLA and Stephanie Green PPR Development Worker.

The new campaign is calling for the inclusion of mental health information in the HSC’s ‘Choose Well’ campaign. Here are some facts about the new campaign and details of how you can get involved.

Is there any information about where to go when you are unwell?

Yes, in 2013 the Health and Social Care Board launched the ‘Choose Well’ public information campaign which gives people advice about what type of help is available and when to use it; it includes information about what help is available from your pharmacist, your GP, Out of Hours GP or at A&E. The overall cost of the 'Choose Well' campaign was approximately £167,000.

What is the issue?

Unfortunately, despite one in four people in Northern Ireland experiencing mental health problems at one stage in their lives, the Choose Well campaign contains no information relevant to mental health and the help available for people in distress.

The omission of this information reinforces the stigma around mental health and means people may not know where to go to access services.

But, aren’t there already government mental health specific campaigns like ‘Mind Your Head’ etc which deal with this issue?

The existing government campaigns don’t deal with this issue properly – if 9 out of ten mental health patients and carers don’t have enough information about where to go then something isn’t working!

Experiencing mental health distress or crisis can be a very frightening and confusing experience; getting the information you need quickly and easily is important. Besides, why have a public information campaign which is only about physical health? Mental and physical health should be treated equally. Don’t leave mental health out!

What do we want to see happen?

Having enough information about where to go when you need help is not only important to make sure people get the help they need and services run smoothly; it is also a human rights issue. Government has a responsibility to protect the right to health (which includes mental health).

We have seen that this is possible, with similar Choose Well campaigns in England including information about mental health in their Choose Well campaign materials. You can see an example of material from a 'Choose Well' campaign in England that included mental health here

The Mental Health Rights Campaign is calling on the Minister for Health to do three things;

1. Revise the HSC ‘Choose Well’ public information campaign, within a reasonable and defined timescale

2. Include appropriate information about where to go when in mental health distress

3. Involve mental health patients and carers in the development of this information in order to ensure that it meets their needs

How can you get involved?

  • Sign up to support our call on the Health Minister to support the inclusion of mental health in the Choose Well campaign.
  • You can sign up by email at mentalhealth@pprproject.org Just add your name to the subject line of the email and we can sign a support pledge on your behalf.
  • Speak to your local MLA and ask them to support the campaign
  • Speak to other interested groups in your area and ask them to sign up to the campaign
  • To find out more about the campaign or if you would like to sign up as an individual or a group contact us on 028 9031 3315 or mentalhealth@pprproject.org
  • Follow us on twitter @PPR_Org or like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pprproject