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“Education helped us battle mental health”

by KMBC

Four men from Knowsley who have experienced mental health problems feature in a powerful new video to raise awareness of how taking up an adult education course has helped them.

Retired Rugby League player, Danny Sculthorpe, is one of the men in the film. He speaks candidly about suffering with depression: “I couldn’t admit I was depressed, I was in a very dark place,” said Danny.

Between them the four men in the film have experienced depression, isolation and suicidal thoughts.

They are not alone. One in eight men will experience a mental health condition.

Having successfully completed a personalised FACE Forward learning programme the four men say in the film that it’s given them back their self-respect confidence and identity – and their experiences are being backed by new research, which shows that taking up education can have a positive impact on mental health conditions.

What is FACE Forward?

FACE Forward is a project that is part of a national research study measuring the impact of adult education on mental well-being. It is a partnership between Knowsley Council’s Family And Community Education Service (FACE) and the North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (Recovery Service). The research is funded by the Department for Education.

The experience of the men in the film is testament to the positive impact learning has on mental health recovery.

Cllr Joan Lilly, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said:

“The support offered through FACE Forward has a focus on self-management of personal mental health conditions. As the experience of the four men in the video shows, education helps manage dealing with feeling low, stress, not sleeping and finding it hard to go out.

Alec Horrocks, Senior Mental Health Practitioner, North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“It’s designed to help men who are experiencing mental health issues to become better at dealing with the daily life challenges this presents. We have FACE Forward venues across Knowsley and if you’re interested in the programme you’re welcome to attend an informal welcome session to find out more about the activities you can participate in by contacting one of the team.”

World Suicide Prevention Day

The film has been released ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day, on Sunday 10 September.

Men account for eight out of every ten suicides, and the highest number of suicides are recorded in men aged 35-54 years.

If you need help or if you are worried about someone else you can find immediate assistance from the Samaritans by phoning free on 116 123, 24 hours a day.

If you are a parent in Knowsley worried about your child phone the Young Minds parents helpline on 0808 802 5544. If you live in Knowsley and have been bereaved by suicide you can contact AMPARO support service on 0330 088 9255 9am to 5pm.

If you need to talk to someone about the way you’re feeling please make an appointment with your GP.

The theme for 2017 World Suicide Prevention Day is ‘Take a minute, change a life.’ It’s a reminder that we can all take an active role in looking out for those who may be struggling, check in with them, and encourage them to tell their story in their own way and at their own pace. Offering a gentle word of support and listening in a non-judgemental way can make all the difference.

Show your support

You can help raise awareness of suicide prevention and encourage others to reach out to those who might need help by joining the Cheshire and Merseyside World Suicide Prevention Day Thunderclap campaign.

At 12 noon on 10 September everyone who has signed up will see an auto post on Facebook and Twitter of the following message:

Take a minute: Check in with someone who may be struggling #takeaminutechangealife #nomoresuicide #WSPD

Sign up for the thunderclap.