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Gloucester Rugby stars launch Making Life Better campaign

17th August 2009

Gloucester Rugby stars James Simpson-Daniel and Tom Voyce will be tackling stigma, not opponents, when they help launch an exciting new NHS campaign at Kingsholm on Monday (24th August).

The two England internationals are getting behind the Making Life Better social inclusion campaign organised by 2gether NHS Foundation Trust.

Over the coming weeks, the Making Life Better roadshows will visit 10 sites across Gloucestershire to help raise awareness of mental wellbeing and to challenge discrimination.

James Simpson-Daniel said: “One in four people experience mental ill health at some point in their lives so we all need to understand more about mental health problems and how we can support friends and family.

“All of us have a role in helping to end mental health discrimination. That’s why Gloucester Rugby is supporting Making Life Better.”
The roadshows include:
  • Our Community Moodometer which will help measure the mood of people in each location to measure the county’s mood overall
  • A campaign sofa where people can be filmed chatting about a range of relevant topics.  These will be uploaded after each event onto our specially designed social inclusion website for Gloucestershire
  • Interactive boards where people can write down their thoughts and suggestions on how to make life better
  • A large screen showing films about mental health services and social inclusion
  • Information about mental health services throughout Gloucestershire
  • Guidance on how to help someone you know

The campaign follows the results of a Gloucestershire survey regarding attitudes to mental health. It showed:
  • More Gloucestershire residents had a close relative with mental health problems than respondents to the same survey elsewhere in England (24% compared to 16%)
  • 88% of those surveyed agreed ‘The best therapy for many people with mental illness is to be part of a normal community’ compared to 78% nationally
  • 93% agreed that ‘We need to adopt a far more tolerant attitude toward people with mental illness in our society’ compared to 85% nationally
However, responses to some of the questions highlighted areas of concern about continuing discrimination and stigma in the county. For example:
  • 13% of those surveyed agreed that ‘It is frightening to think of people with mental problems living in residential neighbourhoods’
  • 25% of those surveyed agreed that locating mental health facilities in a residential area downgrades the neighbourhood
  • 16% of those surveyed thought that anyone with a history of mental problems should be excluded from taking public office
Shaun Clee Chief Executive of 2gether said:
“Everyday, thousands of people across the county are affected by mental ill health. In addition, thousands more could benefit from knowing how to look after their own mental wellbeing or that of a family member or friend.

“Our aim is to promote a society where mental health conditions are seen as illness like any other. That way we can tackle the discrimination that exists in our communities so everyone has the same opportunities to fulfil their potential and to participate in their wider community.”

Dr Jane Melton, 2gether’s Interim Director of Social Inclusion, said:
“We are calling on the residents of Gloucestershire to visit our roadshows and get involved in our campaign. This will give people an opportunity to find out more about mental wellbeing, make their mood count towards our Moodometer and chat to us on the sofa.”

Making Life Better campaign roadshows dates:

Tuesday, 25th August, 10am-4pm: Beechwood Shopping Centre, Cheltenham
Thursday, 27th August, 10am-4pm: Kings Walk Shopping Centre, Gloucester
Friday, 28th August, 10am-4pm: Market House, Newent
Saturday, 5th September, 9am-6pm: Moreton-in-Marsh Show
Tuesday, 15th September, 10am-4pm: Eastgate Street, Gloucester
Friday, 18th September, 10am-4pm: Tewkesbury town centre
Friday, 25th September, 10am-4pm: The Prom, Cheltenham
Friday, 2nd October, 10am-4pm: Brewery Courtyard, Cirencester

More information on the Making Life Better campaign can be found at

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