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‘Mental health stigma makes recovery harder’

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More than 200 children are being admitted to hospital every year as a result of self-harm in the Wakefield district.

Around ten per cent of the district’s children have a mental health disorder, according to an annual public health report.

The report, by Wakefield’s director of pubic health Dr Andrew Furber, said one in seven adults were recorded as having depression or anxiety and six per cent had a long-term mental health condition.

And between 25 and 30 suicides were recorded every year in the district.

The report said: “People with mental health problems say that the social stigma attached to mental ill-health and the discrimination they experience can make their difficulties worse and make it harder to recover. Society in general has stereotyped views about mental illness and how it affects people.”

Cuts to benefits by the government and stressful working conditions were among factors affecting mental health.

The report said: “An economic recession can increase poverty as good employment opportunities fall and political choices lead to potentially damaging changes to benefits systems.”

Employers were being urged to sign up to the Wakefield Workplace Health and Wellbeing Charter.

Benefits of the scheme include stress and anxiety sessions in the workplace and offering mental health first aid training courses.

The report said: “It is also important that managers and staff have the space and skills to spot signs of stress, anxiety and depression in colleagues, the confidence to address and talk about these issues and to offer basic support and sign-posting.”

The report also said mental health problems were twice as common in homeless people. Poor housing was also a factor.

The report added: “Poor quality accommodation - cold, damp, dirty, in poor repair - impacts on both physical and mental health.

“Those that experience these factors are more likely to suffer stress, anxiety and depression.”