TODAY organisations and individuals across the district will be marking World Mental Health Day.

Aimed at educating, raising awareness and tackling social stigma, it was created by the World Federation for Mental Health in 1992.

It also marks the 20th anniversary of Mind in Bradford’s confidential telephone helpline Guide-Line. The advice service was set up as a pilot by the local mental health charity in 1998, with just one worker answering calls six hours a day, five days a week.

Now the helpline operates from 12 noon until 9pm every day of the year and is manned by a team of 15 trained staff and volunteers across the district. In the past six months alone, they have provided support to 4,601 callers.

Statistics show that one in four of us will experience a mental health problem, ranging from depression and anxiety to rarer conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

And often people do not know where to get help or worry about the stigma.

“Even now we get callers who didn’t know about our service. They thought there was no help in Bradford,” said Guide-Line worker Jeanette.

“But all calls are confidential and we can help and support people, and we can signpost them to sessions at Mind in Bradford or to other organisations.”

She added that many callers seek help because this is a phoneline service.“A lot of people don’t like face-to-face contact at first. Sometimes we are people’s only support if they struggle to get out of the house because of agrophobia, for example.”

This year, World Mental Health Day is highlighting growing concerns for the mental well-being of young people, who are reporting increased incidents of depression, stress and self-harm. The pressures of schoolwork, exams and social media are often blamed with one in ten children in a classroom now having a diagnosable mental health disorder.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that in 2015, suicide was the most common cause of death for both boys (17per cent of all deaths) and girls (11per cent) aged between 5 and 19.

This month saw the launch of Mind in Bradford’s latest project which aims to improve access to mental health support by placing trained staff in GP surgeries.

There are two services, with one specifically for 16 to 25-year-olds experiencing difficulties with their mental and emotional wellbeing.

Patients at any GP practice can ring their practice to arrange an evening appointment at Shipley Medical Centre or The Ridge medical practice in BD7.

Mind in Bradford’s Service Director Christina Collins said half of all mental health illness began by the age of 14.

“It is also the age most likely to disengage with services,” she added. “It’s really important people who are beginning to struggle can find appropriate help quickly.”

Guide-Line is one of three key services offered by Mind in Bradford. The charity also operates The Sanctuary, part of a network of safe spaces for those in crisis. It also offers a range of well-being sessions and recovery groups at its city centre offices. Taster sessions are being held at its base in the city centre today.

Mind in Bradford chief executive Helen Davey said its mission was to promote mental well-being in Bradford and across the district and help people work towards recovery.

“We are working alongside mental health providers and the voluntary sector throughout Bradford to improve access to information, advice, treatment and recovery,” she said.

“With growing numbers of people reaching out for help, it is essential that we work together to provide as much support as possible.

“Mental health problems can affect anyone, any day of the year but World Mental Health Day is a great day to show support. Today, we would like to re-assure people experiencing mental health problems that they are not alone and that there is help out there for them.”

To contact Guide-Line, run by Mind in Bradford, offering mental health telephone support and information, call 01274 594594 between 12 noon and 9pm.

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