THE stigma and lack of understanding facing sufferers of depression has prompted a York woman to set up a support group and charity.

Chelsea-Vove Child, 21, who also has the condition, said despite recent television information campaigns and help available on the NHS, there was still more support needed for those with the illness.

Miss Child, from Acomb, said: “I have been in and out of counselling myself and I didn’t feel as though I got as much support as I needed.

“I sometimes felt as though they didn’t have the time for me. I wanted to set up the group for people like me, with a history of the illness, to give support. Also, it’s not so much now about raising awareness, but about increasing understanding. One out of every three people will experience it, but so little is known about it.”

According to research by the Mental Health Foundation, mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain, with women more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men.

However, the research shows British men are three times as likely to die by suicide than women. Self-harm statistics for the UK show it has one of the highest rates in Europe at 400 per 100,000 population.

Miss Child said: “The group is for anyone who has suffered and may have come through the other side or for people who are still battling it. I want people to know it’s nothing to be ashamed of and it’s okay to talk about it.”

The first meeting of the group, which will be known as Progression, takes place in Cafe 71, Front Street, Acomb, on Sunday, February 17.

For more information, phone Chelsea-Vove Child on 07926 476 392.