With national Mental Health Awareness Week just around the corner, Swindon Borough Council’s Public Health Team have been working with several local organisations to encourage residents to be more open about how they’re feeling and talk about their mental health.

From 13 – 19 May, a series of activities will be taking place across the town to get people talking about their mental wellbeing and to highlight the support already available.

Men, in particular, are being encouraged to get involved, with things like male-only yoga sessions being run by Swindon and Gloucestershire Mind.  Nationally, the biggest killer of men under the age of 50 is suicide while in Swindon, the suicide rate among men is nearly three times higher than the rate among women.

Councillor Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Mental Health Champion, said: “Unfortunately there’s still a lot of stigma around people, particularly men, opening up and talking about how they’re feeling. We wanted to help tackle this so have worked with local people and organisations to understand what might encourage men to talk about things that cause them stress in their day-to-day lives.

“Mental Health Awareness Week is a great time to launch this campaign, which has been designed by focus groups with local people and has really come together thanks to the hard work and commitment of many different organisations and companies across the town.”

The campaign is being supported by GLL Leisure Centres, Wyvern Theatre and New College who have all adopted the campaign and worked with Public Health Swindon to upskill their staff around healthy conversation skills and mental health awareness.

Many other local businesses are getting involved by offering a series of activities and exhibitions next week. Visit www.mmhswindon.co.uk or search ‘Swindon MMH’ on Facebook to find out more.

Anyone who is experiencing mental health difficulties and would like advice or help can visit www.mmhswindon.co.uk/support