A politician who has previously spoken out about his own issues has praised a campaign aimed at helping end the ‘stigma’ surrounding mental health.
Ken Skates, the Labour Assembly Member for Clwyd South, joined thousands of people in schools, workplaces and communities across Wales to have a conversation about mental health on Time to Talk Day on Thursday (February 5).
Mr Skates said: “Mental health problems affect one in four, yet too often we are afraid to talk about our experiences because we fear it will affect our jobs and relationships. We all have mental health, just like we all have physical health, so you don’t need to be an expert to talk about it.”
Mr Skates was involved in a groundbreaking debate in the Senedd in 2012, when he spoke about his own experience of Generalised Anxiety Disorder. The condition, which first emerged when he was a teenager starting his first term at Cambridge University, left him in ‘constant worry’ and he lived with the effects for a decade.
Mr Skates praised the ‘incredible bravery’ of former Burnley and Leeds United defender Clarke Carlisle, now chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association, who on Thursday spoke publicly about his ongoing battle with depression and a suicide attempt late last year.
He added: “Many of us will be affected by mental health problems at some point in our lives, and even more of us will know somebody who is afraid to talk.
“Time to Talk Day is a great idea, encouraging us to take five minutes with a friend or family member to find out how they’re doing. It is time we ended the stigma around mental health problems and I am delighted to support this campaign.”