With a new report showing more than 70 per cent of people in the North East struggle with their mental health, a local charity is encouraging communities to talk about it.

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind wants to raise awareness about what support is out there and to break the stigma attached to mental health – this comes in the wake of the Mental Health Foundation report highlighting the North East as the area most affected by mental health.

To highlight the campaign Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind’s anti-stigma volunteering group invited ITV Tyne Tees to see how they talk about mental health and why it is important.

Bethany Dean, Communications Officer at Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind, said: “Everyone has mental health just as we have physical health and that is why we set up the anti-stigma group to challenge the public attitude around mental illnesses.

“The volunteers meet monthly to talk openly about their own experiences and coping techniques they have discovered make a difference.”  

Iona Peers, anti-stigma volunteer, said: “For some of us with mental health problems, it can be incredibly difficult to start a conversation about our struggles without a prompt.

“Asking somebody how they are, or letting them know you are there if they are struggling, can make it much easier to get the discussion started.”

Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind offers a range of services and volunteering opportunities in the area from wellbeing courses to counselling.

If you are concerned about your own mental health, or of someone you know, contact the charity on 01642 257020 or visit middlesbroughandstocktonmind.org.uk.  

The special reports are on ITV Tyne Tees with the anti-stigma volunteers appearing this Thursday at 6pm.