A CULCHETH man has started a mental health awareness campaign which has received celebrity backing.

Father-of-two Paul Chisnall set up the Take off the Tape Challenge, which aims to dispel stigmas around stress and anxiety.

The campaign asks people to write the thing that makes them stressed or anxious and to write it on a piece of paper, post-it note or tape and then take a selfie with the message covering their mouth.

Paul, 32, came up with the campaign after being inspired by mental health campaigners Mind, who are the partner charity of MEC where he is digital engagement director.

Wigshaw Lane resident Paul said: “Not enough people are comfortable about stress and the serious problems that it can lead to if you don’t deal with it properly.

“We thought about what it feels like if you’re not able to talk about something and it feels a bit like being gagged, so we’re asking people to put tape over their mouths and take a selfie to show they’re comfortable with it.

“We want people to pass it on so that they feel empowered – it’s a wide-ranging thing from people who are just a bit stressed to others who have serious mental health issues.

“It’s going really well and we’ve had a lot of celebrities getting involved.”

The campaign’s launch has been high-profile, with big outdoor adverts in Manchester, London and Birmingham and coverage in the Daily Star and NME.

TV presenters, actors, models and sporting stars have taken to social media to show their backing for former Culcheth High School pupil Paul’s campaign.

X Factor singer Frankie Cocozza named ‘not having a job’ as his biggest anxiety, while the Mayor of Warrington Cllr Geoff Settle understandably named his workload as the biggest stress in his life.

CBBC presenter Ben Shires also got involved, naming expectation as the biggest thing to cause him stress and anxiety.

He said: “It’s just so important for us to talk about the things that worry us – the team at Mind do such an amazing job supporting people across the country and the least that I could do is open up just a little to share something that makes me anxious.

“Even the most positive and fulfilled people you know will get anxious – for my Take Off the Tape challenge I chose the weight of expectation as the cause of anxiety.

“To be honest I consider myself one of the luckiest blokes out there as I love my job.

“However, understanding where the chinks in the armour are really help to lend perspective to everything.”

Ruth Richards, head of communications at Mind, hoped the campaign would get people talking about their problems, big and small.

She said: “At some point there are problems that everyone is likely to face – whether it’s worry about work, money, our image, health, a loved one or exams, stress and anxiety are emotions we all encounter.

“If we don’t speak out and seek support these feelings can build and start to impact on our quality of life, our relationships and our health.

“By encouraging everyone to talk more honestly about things being tough we can help people feel more comfortable about admitting that they need some support.”