A campaign to combat mental health has been launched to get the undivided attention of men, while in the washroom of their local St Austell Brewery owned pub.
The poster campaign is aimed at destigmatising mental health and directing men to organisations which they can talk to and seek help.
The initiative is part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness of men's mental health in Cornwall, which has a higher than national average rate of suicide, with the most at-risk group being middle aged men.
Posters have gone up in pub toilets across Cornwall and are supported by further messaging on beer mats. The posters have also been adopted in police stations, health centres and council offices.
The Don’t Flush Your Life Away campaign is a collaboration between Cornwall Council, Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust, Outlook SW, Samaritans, BBC Radio Cornwall and St Austell Brewery, which runs 129 pubs in the Duchy.
Dr Ruth Goldstein, Cornwall Council Wellbeing and Public Health team said:
“Everyone has mental health, sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s not! We ask someone who we can see who has hurt themselves if they are okay, and we need to do the same when it comes to mental health, even though we can’t always see it in our friends and family.
“It’s so important that we start having these conversations. Lots of people socialise in a pub, so it’s the perfect place to have that initial chat.”
Dr Ellen Wilkinson, Medical Director Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust said: “Each person who dies by suicide is one too many, and we’re working hard to try and reduce those to zero. Talking about mental health is something we need everyone to do. We know it’s hard for men to open up and not bottle up emotions, but we want them to know it’s okay to not be okay. Being able to talk openly can and does save lives”.
Steve Worrall, retail director, St Austell Brewery: “Pubs are very often the hub of a community and are a great place to start the conversation. This campaign has a very important message and we’re delighted to be able to play our part in getting it out there.
“Supporting all mental health is part of the well-being ethos at St Austell Brewery and we want to continue to be industry leaders in our approach to supporting customers and employees who may be experiencing mental health issues.”
Anyone struggling with stress, anxiety, depression or thoughts of suicide can contact the Samaritans at any time of day or night, 24/7 365 days a year. Or people can refer themselves and get support online to learn how to cope with mental health from Outlook South West.
If you would like to take part in the campaign and display posters in your workplace, sports club or social place please email email@example.com
This is the third campaign to run under the Don’t Flush Your Life Away title. It was originally started in The William pub in Truro and then championed on Radio Cornwall’s regular mental health slot. Listeners were then asked to give a name to the campaign and the winning suggestions from over 100 entries was adopted.