Carrickfergus YMCA has welcomed a celebrity guest as part of efforts to boost a UK-wide campaign on mental health.
Jody Latham, known for his roles in Shameless, The Fixer , and EastEnders, met with staff and young people at the local branch earlier this month.
The visit came ahead of World Mental Health Day on October 10, and saw TV star Jody work with young person Daniel Ritchie to make a short film around the so-called stigma of mental ill health.
The Carrick group has joined forces with YMCAs across the UK and Ireland to support the #IAMWHOLE campaign, which was launched in 2016 by Jordan Stephens, one half of music duo, Rizzle Kicks.
The campaign has been developed as a direct response to the mental health difficulties being experienced by children and young people throughout the UK, Ireland and around the World.
More Than Words has been launched as part of #IAMWHOLE’s 2017 activity, and is supported by high profile names including YouTuber, Zoella; former World Champion boxer, Ricky Hatton; TV presenters Matt Johnson, Anna Williamson; Soccer AM host, Lloyd Griffith and music artists including Professor Green and Ella Eyre.
YMCA research showed that ‘psycho’, ‘retard’ and ‘attention seeker’ were among the most commonly used words, as two thirds (66%) of young people who have seen or heard harmful words and negative stereotypes relating to mental health say it is simply part of everyday language.
Researchers spoke to more than 2,000 11-24 year olds and found that even though nearly nine in ten (88%) young people who have come across stereotypes and negative words think they should be challenged, less than half (48%) have done so.
The damaging impact of harmful language is evident as more than half (55%) of young people who have been on the receiving end say it stops them from talking about their difficulties.
Carrickfergus Chief Executive for YMCA Ivor Mitchell, said: “Negative language surrounding mental health is so engrained into our everyday language it makes it almost impossible to tackle stigma if we don’t change the way we talk about people experiencing mental health difficulties.
“While everyone knows how damaging insults can be, it’s the more subtle elements of how we talk about the issue that really discourages young people from speaking out.
“Most of us use words unintentionally, not realising the damaging consequences of our comments. We need to start challenging people on the way they talk and also challenge ourselves. This is why we support the #IAMWHOLE campaign to help everyone better understand mental health and tackle stigma one word at the time.”