TV comic stephen boosts campaign

QI host Stephen Fry
QI host Stephen Fry

ACTOR and comedian Stephen Fry has given a huge boost to a Wigan-based mental health campaign.

5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust first launched its ‘Sticks and Stones’ campaign to challenge mental health and learning disability-related stigma in April 2010.

The overall target was to collect 100,000 signatures by March 31, 2011.

Each signature represents a pledge not to use offensive or hurtful words to describe people with mental ill health or learning disabilities.

Stephen Fry once again took to his Twitter account on Friday afternoon, urging his followers to sign the Trust’s online petition and help it reach 50,000 pledges by World Mental Health Day.

Campaign manager Emma Parkes said: “When Stephen Tweeted on Friday afternoon we had just over 48,000 signatures. With the support of his followers, we now have more than 52,000.

“That’s fantastic but we are still counting on local people to sign this petition and help us reach our overall target by March next year.”

This Sunday is Mental Health Day and the trust is delgihted to have reached halfway in its target in time for the event.

Ms Parkes added: “It is a testament to the mass support we have received from celebrities, our corporate partners, staff and, most importantly, our service users and carers.”

The campaign, which is also backed by Latics boss Roberto Martinez, has been recognised at this year’s Positive Action Awards. ‘Sticks and Stones’ won the ‘Influencing the Media’ category at last Thursday’s glittering ceremony.

She added: “This would not have been possible without the support of our service users and carers who asked for the campaign and who have helped us to deliver it at every stage.”

The campaign slogan is a familiar memorable nursery rhyme with a twist that most people can relate to.