Saturdays' Frankie Sandford: End mental health stigma

The Saturdays singer Frankie Sandford is calling for mental health illnesses not to be stigmatised by the public.

The 24-year-old star says she's suffered from depression and anxiety for a number of years.

She has joined up with mental health charities Mind and Rethink for their It's Time to Talk campaign.

It aims to encourage people in England to talk publically about it after a survey found nine out of 10 sufferers said they had faced discrimination.

It's thought one in four people will experience a mental health illness at least once every year.

Frankie Sandford has advised friends, family and colleagues of sufferers to make sure no-one feels alone.

"Send a text, saying how are you today, or just meet up for coffee, so they are not on their own," she said.

"They don't particularly have to talk about it, but just let them know you're there for them and that you care. That's enough."

Frankie Sandford is seven months pregnant with her first child with footballer Wayne Bridge. The couple are expecting a boy.

She says if more people talk about their state of mind, then fewer would feel stigmatised.

She said it was "a relief" telling the rest of The Saturdays.

The Saturdays

"[They were] really unfazed," she admitted. "I thought it was going to be this big thing.

"I'd built it up so much and they were all just like, 'OK cool,' and they were just there for me if I did have a panic attack or if I was feeling down that day.

"The same as you'd hope your friends would be if you were having a bad day."

Time to change director Sue Baker said: "Mental health problems can happen to anyone so it is vital that we start to be more open about it as a common health issue.

"We also want to support more people to talk openly about their own mental health problems to help change outdated attitudes.

"The more we're able to speak openly about mental health problems, the earlier people will be able to get the help and support needed, and the sooner we can break the taboo."

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