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The CEO of the mental health charity behind the UK’s first ever comprehensive national mental health database, the Hub of Hope has urged people across the country to make time for their own mental wellbeing. The call to action comes from Jake Mills, Liverpool comedian and CEO of charity Chasing the Stigma (CTS), ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week (14th – 20th May 2018) – almost five years on from his own suicide attempt.
Jake said: “Everyone has mental health and I want to encourage people to make time to look after theirs, just like we do our physical health,” said Jake. “Five years ago, I was ignoring my mental health needs because I didn’t really understand what they were. People just didn’t talk openly about things like depression and I felt like I had nowhere to turn and suicide was the only option. But I want people to know that there is always help and there is always hope.”
Drawing on his own personal experience, Jake teamed up with software agency, Mashbo to create the Hub of Hope, a digital platform that brings grassroots and national mental health services together in one place for the first time ever.
Since its launch in July 2017 it has received more than 15,000 unique visits from 751 different cities and towns across 59 countries and has provided a vital stopgap for thousands of people on the five to six-month NHS waiting list for mental health referrals. One of these users was Ryan Farmer.
Ryan said: “I found Chasing the Stigma after I went to my GP for help with anxiety problems. The doctor referred me for an initial assessment with a therapist, which he said I would have to wait a number of months for. I’d never asked for help before, so when I left the appointment I couldn’t help but wonder what I was going to do while I waited months to be seen.
“That’s when I found The Hub of Hope. I just popped in my postcode and found different support groups that were local to the area. All of them were new to me. For me, the support I found through The Hub of Hope has given me the help I needed while I wait for the assessment. It was help I desperately needed and there is no way I would have found it without The Hub of Hope. It is such a brilliant resource.”
More than 1,000 validated mental health support networks have already registered on the web app, with the number increasing each day, and it has been endorsed by the Samaritans and 25 other national mental health support organisations.
Using the location of a web browser or mobile device, the Hub of Hope allows anyone, anywhere to find the nearest source of support for any mental health issue, from depression and anxiety to PTSD and suicidal thoughts, as well as providing a ‘talk now’ button connecting users directly to the Samaritans.
Jake continued: “I set up CTS with the aim of normalising mental illness and giving it a human face. Everyone in the world has mental health, yet the fear of judgement prevents so many of us from talking about it.
“CTS is committed to finding ways to remove that fear and unnecessary stigma. The Hub of Hope is a tool that allows people to find a way to start those conversations or provides people with an easily accessible resource when a friend, colleague or family member’s response to ‘are you ok?’ is ‘no’. Professional services can – and indeed do – also signpost to it.
“I use my first-hand experience to say that I’ve suffered, I’ve got through it and you can too. You are never alone.”
The Hub of Hope, which the first database of its kind in the UK, has been publicly commended by mental health charities such as the Samaritans and public figures including Jeremy Corbyn and Davina McCall, who referred to Jake as “the Dalai Lama of mental health”.
The web app, which is available online and in the App Store now, and on Android later this month (May) is free to use and also free for organisations to register, simply click here. For more information about Chasing the Stigma, head to the official Facebook page here.
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