Banbury MP Victoria Prentis visited Restore’s town support centre ahead of World Mental Health Day on Wednesday (October 9).
Mrs Prentis was shown how staff and volunteers at The Orchard in Calthorpe Street help those who have had mental health issues to recover.
She said: “Restore’s a brilliant place to come and it’s great to be back here for World Mental Health Day.
“I’ve met people who come here several times a week and find it very helpful. There’s lots going on – there’s craft, woodwork, nice staff to talk to, a delicious lunch and jobs to do. It’s a positive and great place to be.”
Restore spokesman Tom Hayes said: “Around one in four people will experience a mental health illness this year.
“Despite the progress we have made in raising awareness of mental health issues, there’s still lots to do.
“We need to increase mental health recovery and coaching support as well as step up efforts to combat negative attitudes that still exist in society.”
Restore is working within the Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership to increase understanding of the lives of people with mental ill health while spreading awareness that unless the existence of negative attitudes is recognised, challenge and improvement will be difficult.
Lesley Dewhurst, chief executive of Restore, said: “The stigma that surrounds mental health is built into the words we use. Language can drive people to – or away from – getting life-changing help of the kind available at The Orchard in Banbury.
“We can all end stigma towards mental ill-health and encourage more people to access the help they need by changing how we talk about mental illness.”
The organisation is trying to encourage people not to use careless words to describe people with mental health issues.
“Language shapes how we see each other and the world, but it can also cause people to worry about saying or doing the wrong thing. An effort to improve attitudes towards mental health does not mean people should obsess about restricting language or confuse political correctness for inclusive language,” said Ms Dewhurst.
“We can’t tackle mental health stigma if we’re avoiding talking about mental health to start with. We don’t want people to feel awkward about mental health, but nor do we want people with mental ill-health to feel excluded from society.”
Restore and the Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership have got some handy tips to help everyone feel confident around mental illness.
“We are challenging negative phrases people with mental ill health find hurtful or harsh because they suggest they’re helpless, pitying, or are even used abusively. By saying ‘a person is living with mental ill health’ rather than describing them as ‘mental’, a nnutter’, ‘lunatic’, or ‘schizo’, we can end stigma and drive people towards life-changing help,” said Ms Dewhurst.