COLUMN: Helping people talk about mental health

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I felt mixed emotions when Prince Harry recently spoke out about seeking help to deal with the grief and trauma of losing his mother as a child, 20 years after her death.

In part, I was moved by his bravery in speaking out. In part, I was excited at the positive impact his public statements (along with those of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) could have.

And in part, I was saddened by the memory of the 12-year- old Harry walking in the funeral procession all those years ago and how small and isolated he seemed, despite a world grieving alongside him.

Mental ill health carries a lot of stigma. Despite growing exposure in the media and many celebrities and other public figures showing support and openly talking about their own issues, the reality is that for many of us, mental health is still a taboo and something we feel we can’t talk about.

Mental Health Awareness Week (8 to 14 May) is a great opportunity to remind us that anyone, at any point in their life, may experience mental health problems.

Many people, if they can make contact with services like those of Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT), will recover from episodes of mental ill health.

However, for some, the support they need is to help them learn to live with their illness.

LPFT has introduced a Recovery College in our county. The college is a new approach to mental health based on education. It gives people hope that they can live a fulfilled life despite mental ill health, and helps put them in control of their own lives.

For more information about the Recovery College go to www.lpft.nhs.uk/recovery-college

Paul Devlin, is Chair of Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust