LOUISE Marie Smith, a See Me Community Champion, is asking for people who have experienced mental ill health to participate in a survey on Chronic Invisible Illness & Mental Health as part of a wider awareness project she is working on.

Louise said: "My project aims to raise awareness of invisible illness, particularly with family and friends, who tell us it's 'all in our head', or 'just our depression again' or that we are 'hypocondriacs'.

"This sort of attitude not only has an effect on our conditions, but affects our mental health too, which is usually already struggling because of the daily struggles of living with such illnesses.

"I want to work to raise awareness of the very real physical effects of these conditions and reduce the stigma and discrimination people might feel - especially if those around them don't believe they are really ill or think they are just in denial about mental health issues.

"From my own experience, I was told I was just 'uptight' and 'neurotic' and it came from those that were supposed to love my unconditionally! I think it stems from a lack of real knowledge and awareness and I want to use this project to make a real difference."

The first stage of the project is Louise's survey, found here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/W825P27

The survey is completely anonymous, the answers will be encrypted and it closes at midnight on Sunday, 1 May.

More information can be found on Louise's Facebook page www.facebook.com/LouiseMarieSeeMe and there is more information on her blog re how the data will be stored and used.

She added: "I want to use the stats from this survey to back up why this project needs to happen and to make sure I am targeting the right areas - it may be that people feel employers stigmatise them more and I need to refocus the project."