LETTER: Raising awareness of mental health issues

Mental health awareness week is dedicated to raising awareness of all issues relating to mental health, and we should all support the cause.

While huge strides have been made to reduce the associated stigma in recent years, there is still a long way to go.

At The Prince’s Trust, we know how devastating the effects of mental illness can be for young people.

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As well as affecting levels of happiness, behaviour and social skills, mental health issues make it more difficult for young people to access work or training opportunities.

This can easily become a vicious cycle as we know how much of a negative effect long-term unemployment can have on young people’s self-esteem and mental wellbeing.

We purposefully embed within our programmes activities and discussions around wellbeing and healthy lifestyles to provide support for those young people furthest from the jobs market, many of whom struggle with mental health issues or may be supporting others who face such challenges.

The theme for mental health awareness week this year was relationships, to encourage us to think about the way we interact with each other, and the effect that has on our state of mind.

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Relationships play a huge role in our lives and communities cannot flourish without them.

For young people in particular, the opportunity to build relationships with others whether in school, a work environment or on a project can be so powerful, helping to develop confidence and employability skills.

Organisations will campaign on this theme over the next few days.

However, we all have a responsibility to maintain good, healthy relationships with the people around us, and I’d encourage everyone to support this cause, not just for a week, but all year round.

Harry Shepherd

The Prince’s Trust