Mental Health Awareness Week 2007

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In 2007 we raised awareness about the importance of friendship and its positive impact on mental health.

Friendships are vital for good mental health. But our new research reveals that in reality it can be difficult for people with mental health problems to maintain their friendships. It can also be tough for friends of people with mental health problems to know how to support them.

  • We worked with photographer Spencer Rowell to create a series of images for Mental Health Action Week. Spencer was the photographer behind the iconic ‘Man and Baby’ poster in the 1980s.

    “I’ve been recovering from alcohol and drug addiction for the last 13 years, explains Spencer, "and associate those problems with mental ill-health. I received a lot of help and support during this time and still do - now I want to give something back.I really enjoyed working with the Mental Health Foundation to raise awareness about ordinary people experiencing mental health problems.”

  • We produced a booklet which offers help and guidance to people with mental health problems and their friends.

  • As part of the friendship and mental health campaign, we spoke to people about their real-life experiences regarding mental health and how friends have provided support.

  • Comedian Jo Brand backed out campaign, explaining, “For all the assumed benefits of media profile and celebrity status – it’s not all that, all the time. Moments, sometimes long stretches of self doubt and frustration are not unknown to me even now, and certainly were very evident in the past. But, what I do have, and thankfully what I always had, was the comfort and support of really good friends and my family.

    "Having been very fortunate not to have such an illness in my family or circle of friends, I was fairly ignorant of the enormous problems that many people have to face. Now armed with a crumb more knowledge, donating a recipe is the least I could do."

  • A number of celebrity chefs supported our scheme - among them Sanjay Dwivedi and Alan Coxon - by donating cake recipes (find them, upload them and link to them).

    Alan says: "When asked to support the Mental Health Foundation’s friendship and mental health campaign by donating a cake recipe, not only did I think that it was a great idea, I also felt that this area of illness is so seldom supported or understood.

    “I am only too aware of the isolation and loneliness caused by mental illness – to the sufferer and almost more acutely to those ‘looking on’. Accessing help, support and enlightened treatment is not always there for the asking.I fully endorse the work of the Mental Health Foundation and their efforts to raise public awareness of the impact partners, families and friends can make.”

Find out more about how important friendship is for good mental health.