A BRITISH Army tank has been used to help launch a national campaign to tackle the stigma suffered by people affected by mental illness.

The tank smashed through a ‘Time to Change’ poster, as part of an event at Bovington Garrison linked to national ‘Time to Talk’ Day.

Those gathered, including representatives of Dorset HealthCare’s mental health services, then attended a drop-in session at the garrison, where people had access to one-to-one advice from local therapists.

The Time to Talk initiative is part of the wider Time to Change campaign, run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

Bovington Garrison has already pledged to play its part in the fight to end the stigma and discrimination against people with mental health issues.

Indeed, the Armour Centre’s Lt Col Pearce and army matron Major Vanessa Crossey signed a pledge, last year, and in doing so agreed to take action to reduce discrimination. Worrying figures revealed more British soldiers and veterans took their own lives in 2012 than died fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan during the same period. On Thursday’s Time to Talk Day event, DorsetHealthCare director of mental health services Jane Elson said: “The Time to Talk campaign is about making as much noise as possible about mental health.

“Mental health problems are common – and yet almost nine out of ten people who experience them say they face stigma and discrimination as a result.

“This needs to change, and Dorset HealthCare is delighted to be part of this exciting day, which we hope will drive awareness among the local public.”