#PuttingMeFirst campaign launched

Leading mental health charity Second Step is marking its 30th birthday with a campaign urging the NHS and policymakers to put the individual at the heart of mental health services. People are still being defined by their mental health problem or their diagnosis alone and it has to stop.

Putting the individual first will improve recovery rates, help people reconnect with their families and communities and help them get back to work.

Second Step’s Chief Executive Aileen Edwards, who will launch the #PuttingMeFirst campaign officially at the premiere of a film of the same name at Bristol’s We the Curious museum on Wednesday 22 November at 6pm, said:

“For 30 years we have been successful in helping people find the hope and courage to begin and then sustain their recovery. We’ve helped thousands of people stay out of hospital, reducing costly hospital admissions and supporting people to live more independently in their communities.

“By placing individuals at the heart of our support, by really listening to them, we can help them reconnect with their families and their communities – supporting them to find and keep a home, get back into training, volunteering and work and linking them into activities like those run by our Bristol Wellbeing College.”

“With Bristol seeing 20% more referrals to already stretched and underfunded mental health services, it is vital we change the way we currently do things”, she added.

Backing the campaign, the Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, said:

“Second Step’s #PuttingMeFirst campaign puts the person at the centre of the service and I applaud this approach. It’s important we work together to solve the things we know affect people’s mental health such as inadequate housing, debt and relationship breakdown.

“I’m excited about where this new approach can take us. We’re putting mental health first in Bristol in many ways and Second Step in its 30th anniversary year is playing no small part in that.”

Second Step’s successful approach, to engage with people early in a supportive way which focuses on their strengths and not their diagnosis, has been recognised by other organisations.

Most notably in 2014 when Second Step was chosen by the Big Lottery to lead the multi-million pound Golden Key partnership of city organisations to support some of the most vulnerable people in Bristol and in 2015 when Second Step was commissioned to lead the Community Rehabilitation Service with the NHS and Missing Link.

The #PuttingMeFirst film tells stories of hope, courage and change from volunteers, peer staff and people who have used Second Step services. To see the film and find out how you can get involved in the #PuttingMeFirst campaign, please go to visit our campaign page

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