By Natalie Earley
Today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 (10th-16th May). Started by The Mental Health Foundation 21 years ago, it is an annual event to get more people talking about mental health and raise awareness.
It has grown to become one of the biggest awareness weeks across the UK and globally, according to mentalhealth.org.
Results from a 2015 survey by the Mental Health Foundation found that 13% of adults (aged 16 and older) living in Wales were reported to have received treatment for a mental health problem, an increase from 12% reported in 2014.
Speaking about Mental Health Awareness Week, Deputy Director of Caerphilly Borough Mind (a mental health charity), Gareth Turner said: “For us, and organisations like us, it’s mental health awareness week every week. We do whatever we can, whenever we can, to raise awareness and reduce the stigma.
“But I think it’s good to have these specific periods of time where there’s a drive through social media to do what we can to raise awareness and start to normalise these conversations where mental health is being talked about and it’s at the forefront.”
Founded in 1946, Mind are known as the National Association for mental health, with over 140 local Mind associations across England and Wales. The charity campaigns and raises awareness for people struggling with their mental health.
Caerphilly Borough Mind, previously known as Rhymney Valley Mind, have been providing mental health services for almost 35 years. They offer services such as counselling, wellbeing support and a new project called active monitoring, which they have been doing since lockdown.
At the start of April, they were awarded funding from the National Lottery. This three-year funding stream has allowed the charity to employ a full-time counsellor, two wellbeing workers, an active monitoring practitioner and a project manager for the ‘my whole life’ project they are working on.
Deputy Director, Gareth Turner, who has worked at Caerphilly Borough Mind for 11 years said: “It’s massively important to organisations like us. To get a three-year guaranteed funding stream like that is huge.
“It gives us that bit of stability and security as an organisation going forward. We can really make plans and grow things from that. As a small organisation we’re operating year to year, so to be able to get something for three years is huge.”
Mind believe no one should have to go through a mental health problem alone, with their slogan being: “We won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect.”