St Edmundsbury’s new mayor will focus on putting mental health at the forefront during his next year.
Councillor Terry Clements was installed last Thursday with his deputy Margaret Marks at a mayor making ceremony at The Apex, in Bury St Edmunds.
His views on mental health are very personal to him after battling with depression and epilepsy himself and he says his experience and openness about them has helped him a lot.
He said: “I want to raise awareness as I have been there and not enough people are talking about it.
“I had difficulty finding help so if I couldn’t find it then how are is the ordinary person on the street going to be able to do it?”
Cllr Clements said he felt that even though some figures say one in four will suffer from problems such as depression and anxiety he felt it is more like one in three.
He said: “The amount of people I see and talk to who tell me their stories show there are a lot,
“I also think others don’t realise it isn’t just about raising the money it is about working together and making people more aware about who is suffering with it.”
The mayor admitted that he had been ridiculed about his problems in the past but this had only made him stronger in helping to get more people to understand.
The mayor wants to shine a light on charities such as Suffolk Mind, which tries to help the community be more open with mental health issues so that people know they are out there and are contactable.
He is also open to being contacted by other charities to help get the message across.
Organisations highlighted such as the Horringer branch of the Women’s Institute, who go out and hand deliver their newsletter to see people in the village and check on how they are doing are precisely what Cllr Clements is talking about .
He said: “Some people hide themselves away with their problems but people and groups like those need to be there to help get sufferers out and about.”
Cllr Clements, who has beena member of the council since 1983 put his depression and epilepsy down to previous stress but feels he has sorted himself out and wants to use his role as mayor this year to ensure he can help others to do the same.
At last week’s ceremony a minute’s silence was observed for Councillors Bill Saddler, Angela Rushen and Colin Law who all died over the last month.
Councillor Julia Wakelam, the outgoing mayor gave a heartfelt speech and talked about Ms Rushen.
She said: “She listened calmly to all sides and was clear on her roles, I will miss her greatly.”