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Published 13th Jun 2011

Middlesbrough Hearts and Minds logo

A new range of audio self help guides unveiled in Middlesbrough could help change the way people access information about mental health.

The self help audio leaflets are designed to make it easier for people to access advice and information on mental health via CDs or through the internet and are believed to be a UK first.

Those behind the project hope the audio leaflets will tap into the growing demand for information in audio formats and will also help to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues.

The CDs have been developed by social inclusion group Middlesbrough Hearts and Minds in partnership with Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.

Examples of the 16 issues tackled in the audio self help guides include stress, sleeping problems, post natal depression and anxiety.

The leaflets are read by both male and female voices and have been sent to all doctors’ surgeries in Middlesbrough.

Lol Butterfield, joint social inclusion officer for Middlesbrough Council who helped develop the audio guides, said: “There are growing numbers of people who choose audio formats to access information and there are those whose mental, or other, ill health limits their ability to read for a long time.

“Research also suggests that men use the internet as a means to get health information.

“The audio guides are the first major source of free to access and downloadable information on common mental health problems in audio format in the UK.

“We hope people access them and find them a really useful resource.”

Welcoming the new resource, one service user said: “It felt like someone was sitting beside me helping me to understand my problem.

“This gave me hope and reassured me I wasn't the only one with the problem.”

Karen O’Rourke, Patient Information Centre Co-ordinator at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Middlesbrough Hearts and Minds on this project.

“As a Trust we aim to make mental health and wellbeing information accessible to the general public, either by hard copy or by using more innovative techniques such as audio files.”

Find the guides online or on CD

The guides can be found on the Middlesbrough Council website at:

Sets will be available for loan from all Middlesbrough libraries and a complete set of 32 audio CDs is being delivered to all GP practices in Middlesbrough. Hard copies will also be available.

The full list of titles includes: Alcohol and You, Anxiety, Bereavement, Controlling Anger, Depression and Low Mood, Depression, Domestic Violence, food for thought, Health Anxiety, Obsessions and Compulsions, Panic, Post natal depression, Shyness and Social Anxiety, Sleeping Problems, Stress and Self Harm.

Mental Health: The Facts

  • One in four people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year.
  • This means that of the 143,777 people in Middlesbrough 35,676 will either experience mental health problems themselves or know someone who does.
  • Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain
  • Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men.
  • About 10% of children have a mental health problem at any one time.
  • Depression affects one in five older people.
  • Suicides rates show that British men are three times as likely to die by suicide than British women.
  • Self-harm statistics for the UK show one of the highest rates in Europe: 400 per 100,000 population.

About Middlesbrough Hearts and Minds

Middlesbrough Hearts and Minds is a social inclusion group in Middlesbrough made up of positive and committed individuals who regularly meet and take action to stamp out stigma surrounding mental health issues. The audio CD project was funded by Middlesbrough Primary Care Trust.

Useful links

Middlesbrough Hearts and Minds

Middlesbrough Hearts and Minds on Facebook

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