Girls Aloud star Nicola Roberts and award-winning singer songwriter Laura Mvula have spoken about the impact of therapy on their lives as they helped launch a new mental health campaign.
They’re among a number of famous faces reciting lyrics to the Beatles classic song Help! in a new NHS campaign video.
The video includes other music stars Craig David, Max George and Ella Henderson and aims to encourage people struggling with their mental health to see how talking therapies can help.
Speaking about her experience of therapy, Laura said it was okay to ask for help.
She said: “Through my own personal experience of when I had therapy on the NHS, it did so much for my emotional well-being just to know that someone was truly caring for me on a regular basis.
“It helped me see that things are temporary and however bad and permanent your situation feels, reaching out and sharing with someone you can trust is so important. It’s okay to ask for help – everybody needs it.”
Nicola added: “I’m someone that has benefited hugely from talking therapy.
“I think there is such a taboo around it that people almost feel like they’ve failed or they weren’t strong enough to figure out a situation by themselves.
“But if you’re feeling like you can’t see the wood from the trees or light at the end of the tunnel, it’s imperative to reach out because you can’t always do it alone.
“It’s about saying this is what is happening to me, it’s not my fault, but my happiness matters and I’m going to put my hand up and say I need some help. I wouldn’t be where I am now without therapy”.
Since the start of the pandemic some 2.3 million people have come forward for NHS talking therapies, but with new figures out today showing that more than 50% of people were concerned about their mental health last year – and around half also experiencing stress, anxiety, low mood or depression, and the majority not seeking professional help – many more could benefit.
Now the NHS is encouraging anybody experiencing anxiety, depression, or other common mental health concerns to come forward and see how talking therapies can help them.
Matt Smith-Lilley, our policy and engagement lead (mental health), said: "It’s fantastic to see such high-profile figures sharing their positive experiences of therapy as part of this campaign.
“The more people who talk about therapy positively, the more people in need can realise this is something that can help them.
“But the reality is that mental health services are already facing a workforce shortage and struggling to meet existing demand for services.
“We need to see further action to expand the mental health workforce alongside the vital work of encouraging more people to seek counselling and psychotherapy.
“To achieve this the government needs to invest more in counselling and psychotherapy and recognise the vast, largely untapped potential of the existing counselling and psychotherapy workforce and to bring more of these therapists into the workforce so that people have access to a wider choice of effective therapies, and can also access therapy quicker.
“We’ll continue to campaign on behalf of our members and the public for more investment in therapy, for more choice and for greater access.”
Don't suffer in silence
NHS mental health director Claire Murdoch said: “The pandemic has taken a toll on the nation’s mental health, and we know January can be a particularly tough month for many.
“Over a million people already use NHS talking therapies every year, but we know we can help millions more just by telling them it’s there for them and that is exactly what this campaign is all about.
“If you're experiencing anxiety, stress, or are feeling low, it’s important you know you are not alone and that it is okay to get help. No one should suffer in silence.
“NHS staff have pulled out all the stops throughout the pandemic to keep mental health care services open, and it’s fantastic to see some of the biggest names in music back our campaign and encourage people to get the support they need.”
The campaign will run across radio, social media, and on demand.
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