Duchess of Northumberland backs mental-health campaign

The Duchess of Northumberland. 
Picture by Jane Coltman
The Duchess of Northumberland. Picture by Jane Coltman

The Duchess of Northumberland has backed an NHS campaign encouraging people of the North East to show they are ready to support those facing mental-health difficulties.

#PeopleNotPlasters was launched by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear (NTW) NHS Foundation Trust, one of the country’s largest mental health and learning disability trusts, to coincide with World Mental Health Day, which is today.

The campaign has seen dozens of people share selfies and posts on social media using #PeopleNotPlasters – including NTW service users, their friends and relatives, ward staff, community health teams, police officers, A&E staff and many more.

It aims to highlight how people who lie at the heart of mental-health care – whether it’s NHS staff, loved ones taking on a caring role, or friends and workmates – are ready to listen.

The Duchess is the latest to throw her weight behind the campaign, following backing from Northumbria Police and Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead.

She said: “#PeopleNotPlasters is an inspiring campaign, showing the North East just how many of us are willing to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with people needing mental health and emotional support.

“We can all play a role in reducing the stigma that can wrongly surround mental-health conditions. One in four of us will have difficulty with our mental health at some point. The more of us who are willing to lend an ear, the better.

“We’re full of tight-knit communities here in Northumberland and it’s so important we don’t feel afraid of stepping in to help our friends and neighbours if they need it.”

Caroline Wild, deputy director at NTW, said: “Many people can feel nervous about reaching out for help with their mental health, but we would always encourage them to ask for support if they feel they need it.

“The #PeopleNotPlasters campaign shows the normal, everyday people who are willing to provide that care and compassion: be they NHS staff, those in other services, or friends and family. It’s great to have the Duchess of Northumberland backing this.

“Whoever you are, you can play your part to help people facing these issues. Showing kindness and empathy, being compassionate, listening to another person’s worries and concerns, and supporting them, can all prevent mental-health difficulties from escalating.”