Campaign launched to tackle stigma of mental illness


A campaign has been launched to tackle the stigma surrounding mental illness within the Jewish community.

Think Ahead will run for a year, using 30 striking images accompanied by text, which Jami hopes will get people talking.

The idea is that messages like "Labels are for jars. Not people" will be a gateway for Jews to understand mental health and consider any issue they may be facing themselves.

Liz Jessel, Jami's head of development, is directing the campaign. She said the time for talking about mental wellbeing was long overdue.

"Mental health has been in the media quite considerably across the mainstream over the last two years, but in the Jewish community no one has really openly talked about it in this way before.

"Bearing in mind the focus on mental health in all the parties' manifestos at the last election, the Jewish community should seek to approach it in the same way it approaches general health.

"It's become the one area the Jewish community don't like to talk about."

While Jami already supports more than 1,000 clients every year, their message that mental wellbeing is a concern for everyone - just like physical wellbeing - has not reached everyone in the community.

Chief executive Laurie Rackind explained that it was vital people become informed, even if they haven't directly experienced mental illness.

"We all move on a spectrum of mental health. It's naive for anyone to think it doesn't affect them.

"We're trying to get across to the community that everyone has a duty to challenge the negative perceptions. You wouldn't judge someone who's got cancer or heart disease in that way, so why mental illness?"

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