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Charity asks friends to speak out about mental illness

11th September 2006

A charity is investigating the effect of mental health problems on friendships.

The Mental Health Foundation believes that mental illness can have a significant detrimental effect on interpersonal relationships outside the family and is running a national survey into the experiences of those with mental health problems and their friends.

"One in four people living in the UK experience mental illness each year and so everybody is likely to know somebody who has been affected," says Dr Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation.

"Evidence shows that friendships are a very important foundation for good mental wellbeing but we want to find out how people's friendships are affected by mental health problems."

Dr McCulloch continued: "It can be hard for a person who feels depressed or anxious to discuss how they're feeling with friends but it can also be difficult for friends to know how to support someone with a mental health problem."

The information will be collated and released in time for Mental Health Action Week in April 2007.

According to the charity, the Action Week aim is to raise awareness of mental health issues in an attempt to tackle current stigmas and to reduce discrimination.