Park and ride poster to break the stigma of mental health

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Ben Salmons at the Park and Ride in Elstow

A campaign to promote open and healthy debate about mental health and highlight support available in the area has received some welcome exposure at the Elstow Park and Ride.

Bedford Borough Council has been a long-standing supporter of the Break the Stigma campaign and has now added a poster to its Elstow Park and Ride site.

Thousands of people use the site every week and hope is the prime poster location will encourage shoppers and commuters to think about mental health.

The Break the Stigma campaign is the brainchild of Ben Salmons, from Ampthill, who has experienced his own mental health challenges and is now determined to help others and combat misconceptions about the subject.

The campaign raises awareness and provides information about local mental health services, including Bedfordshire Wellbeing Service and the Bedfordshire and Luton Recovery College.

Ben is now Break the Stigma campaign manager for East London NHS Foundation Trust which provides mental health services in Bedfordshire.

He said, “I really hope getting this information on local mental health services and the campaign out to the public will help people know more of what is available from mental health services in the area to help those that need it.”

Cllr Louise Jackson, Bedford Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, said: “Just like so many of us I’ve had my own mental health challenges.

“One in four people will experience a mental health problem each year, but talking about it has become so much easier as a result of the Break the Stigma campaign. Ben has worked tirelessly to raise awareness and I’m delighted that Bedford Borough Council is able to give more support”

As part of the campaign, the public are encouraged to write a message on a white board headed ‘Let’s be open about mental health to Break the Stigma’.

Journalist, author and award-winning mental health campaigner, Bryony Gordon has taken part in the Break the Stigma campaign

Individuals are then pictured with their comment and the image is uploaded to an @LetsBreakStigma Twitter page and Let’s Be Open About Mental Health Facebook page. It is also posted on the official East London NHS Foundation Trust Facebook page and Twitter page.