Across all of the services YSS provides, we regularly meet service users who are experiencing mental ill health, and for many, talking to a keyworker is the first time they have been able to talk about these problems before.

In 2015 YSS signed up to the Time to Change Employer Pledge in 2015, to demonstrate its commitment to change and how we think and act about mental health in the workplace and make sure that employees who are facing these problems feel supported. By signing the pledge we joined a growing movement of more than 500 employers in England across all sectors recognising that looking after the mental health of our employees makes business sense: tackling stigma can make a real difference to staff wellbeing and productivity.

Staff across the organisation, which supports more than 2,000 vulnerable people across the whole of West Mercia every year, are also trained in delivering mental health first aid, which is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem, or a person in a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate treatment is received or until the crisis resolves.

Lorraine Preece, YSS Chief Executive, said: “While people often know a lot about common physical health problems, there is widespread ignorance of mental health problems. This ignorance adds to stigmatising attitudes and prevents people from seeking help early and seeking the best sort of help. It also prevents people from providing appropriate support to colleagues and family members, simply because they do not know how.”

The most common and disabling mental health problems are depression, anxiety disorders and psychotic disorders. Mental health problems are very common. In any one year about one in four adults experience a mental health problem. Many people experience mental ill health for a long time before they seek help, and alcohol and drug problems can often occur with depression, anxiety and psychosis.

YSS has an associate who is a qualified mental health worker and is trained to deliver Mental Health First Aid Training, which is provided to YSS staff and volunteers. The training enables them to spot the early signs of a mental health problem, provide help on a first aid basis, help prevent someone from hurting themselves or others, help stop a mental illness from getting worse, help someone recover faster, guide someone towards the right support and reduce the stigma of mental health problems.

Lorraine Preece, Chief Executive at YSS, said: “Health and health inequalities are a common theme running throughout all YSS services, and we are always proactively looking to improve health outcomes for the people we support.

“Many of the service users we work with have poor mental health as a result of childhood abuse, trauma, violence or neglect, social isolation or discrimination, homelessness or poor housing, a long-term physical health condition, social disadvantage, poverty or debt, unemployment or caring for a family member or friend. We want to be there to support these people and help them get the help they need. Please consider making a donation to support our work this Mental Health Awareness Week.”

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