Mental health insults and stereotypes are part of everyday language YMCA Trinity Group supports #IAMWHOLE campaign on World Mental Health Day

Mental health insults and stereotypes are part of everyday language YMCA Trinity Group supports #IAMWHOLE campaign on World Mental Health Day

YMCA Trinity Group has joined forces with YMCAs across the UK and Ireland to support a major mental health campaign, as new research reveals the damaging effects of negative language and stereotypes about mental health.

Research from YMCA showed that ‘psycho’, ‘retard’ and ‘attention seeker’ were among the most commonly used words, as two thirds (66%) of young people who have seen or heard harmful words and negative stereotypes relating to mental health say it is simply part of everyday language.

More Than Words, published today on World Mental Health Day, as part of the YMCA and NHS #IAMWHOLE campaign, also showed that 44% of those who have heard or seen negative stereotypes did so on a weekly basis, with young people coming across an average of 33 different words and terms.

Researchers spoke to more than 2,000 11-24 year olds and found that even though nearly nine in ten (88%) young people who have come across stereotypes and negative words think they should be challenged, less than half (48%) have done so.

The damaging impact of harmful language is evident as more than half (55%) of young people who have been on the receiving end say it stops them from talking about their difficulties.

More Than Words has been launched as part of #IAMWHOLE’s 2017 activity, which is supported by high profile names including YouTuber, Zoella; former World Champion boxer, Ricky Hatton; TV presenters Matt Johnson, Anna Williamson; Soccer AM host, Lloyd Griffith and music artists including Professor Green and Ella Eyre.

#IAMWHOLE 2017 is being fronted by rock band, Nothing But Thieves – who have recorded an exclusive version of the title track from their hit album ‘Broken Machine’ to support the campaign, as well as last year’s campaign lead Jordan Stephens from Rizzle Kicks.

In support of #IAMWHOLE 2017 YMCA Trinity Group is hosting an #IAMWHOLE assembly and workshops for children at Norwood Primary School on Tuesday 10 October.

The group will also host a special Cake and Chat for Mental Health event at Tesco Community Room, Serpentine Green Shopping Centre on Wednesday 11 October between 2.30pm – 5pm. This is a FREE event for the whole community to help tackle the stigma of mental health. There will be a fully qualified counsellor available for those who would like to talk in more detail.


Jonathan Martin Chief Executive for YMCA Trinity Group, said:

“Negative language surrounding mental health is so engrained into our everyday language it makes it almost impossible to tackle stigma if we don’t change the way we talk about people experiencing mental health difficulties.

“While everyone knows how damaging insults can be, it’s the more subtle elements of how we talk about the issue that really discourage young people from speaking out. “Most of us use words unintentionally, not realising the damaging consequences of our comments. We need to start challenging people on the way they talk and also challenge ourselves. This is why we support the #IAMWHOLE campaign to help everyone better understand mental health and tackle stigma one word at the time.”


Abby suffered from bullying throughout her years at school and as a result suffered from anxiety and depression. Abby self-referred to the YMCA’s counselling service and found that: “Throughout the counselling I felt supported and that my counsellor really cared about how I was doing. I have left counselling with many resources that I can use if I need them and knowing that people do care and do want to help.”

Anyone who wants to get involved in the campaign can do so by posting an #IAMWHOLE selfie on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or visit BT My Donate  to YMCA to strengthen the circle of support available to young people.

For more information about #IAMWHOLE and this year’s campaign activity, visit www.whole.org.uk.


Useful information to download

What is #IAmWhole

Read our guide to signposting young people to support

Do’s and Don’ts when talking about mental health

Secondary Schools Pack

#IAmWhole Competition – WIN £100 high street voucher

YMCA Schools Services in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Northamptonshire and Suffolk

Parent and Carer Guide



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