Luciana Berger: ‘There’s still stigma and discrimination over mental health’

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Luciana Berger: ‘There’s still stigma and discrimination over mental health’

Former MP talks of her sadness at deaths of four close friends at charity dinner for Jewish Action for Mental Health

Luciana Berger, April 2024, JAMH
Luciana Berger, April 2024, JAMH

Former MP Luciana Berger has lent her heartfelt support to a Jewish mental health organisation at a charity dinner in Manchester.

The event for JAMH (Jewish Action for Mental Health) highlighted the system of preventative measures it has put in place in response to a series of teenage suicides in the Greater Manchester Jewish community.

Interviewed by JAMH Chair Dr Sandi Mann, Berger said: “I’ve lost four people to suicide and there’s still this issue of stigma and discrimination when it comes to mental health.”

She added that the war in Israel impacted her in a way she “never could have imagined” as she struggled to work for several weeks following the devastating events. She also “had to come off social media completely for an extended period of time.”

Luciana was applauded for her resilience during her time in the Labour party and her ultimate exit following the findings of the Human Rights Commission that Labour was guilty of “harassing and intimidating its Jewish members”.

JAMH charity event, April 2024, Manchester

She told the 60 guests about her work in developing Labour’s incoming mental health strategy: “Everyone in this room will be affected by their own mental health or someone around them and a report just out in the last week from the Mental Health Foundation that it’s costing our country £300 billion a year”.

She added that “there’s so much more we can and should be doing in our communities, in our workplaces and places of education to keep people well that we’re not doing at the moment.”

Dr Mann also applauded the ex-MP’s involvement with vital organisations such as the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) and the British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists and chair of the maternal Mental Health Alliance.

To date, JAMH has given professional counselling to more than 750 individuals in the Manchester Jewish community.  To donate, click here.

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