A PENSIONER who has suffered mental health problems for almost 70 years has spoken to the Packet about her struggles.

Babs Minns, from Falmouth, says she has had to cope with the trauma throughout her life after being abused as a child.

"I think it's disgraceful that people look at us like we're scumbags. I keep trying to push myself forward and get out more. I'm not going to let the bastards get me down."

Babs, who lives in Davey's Close, wants to raise awareness of attitude of others and also the lack of support she receives.

"We're not dangerous so I don't know why people are afraid. It would be really nice if, when we're having a bad day, someone just asked us if we want a cup of coffee or something. I don't think that's too much to ask.

Today is World Mental Health Day and on Saturday, Babs will support the MIND group, who will have a stall outside Marks & Spencer in the town centre, to raise awareness.

The 72 year-old, whose grandson recently completed the Three Peaks Challenge with seven friends to raise money for suicide support group Mandown, added: "I am asking for support and acceptance. I have a lovely little house and garden but it hurts me to think that it takes so much energy to go out.

"Why should we not be able to live our lives? We're not monsters."

Babs suffers from ME and Emotional Dysregulation Disorder. Her husband of many years left her six years ago because she says he was no longer able to cope with her condition.

Referring to her childhood, she added: "The abuse was done to me. I thought it was normal, but it wasn't. It's only in the last couple of years that I've realised the damage that was done.

"It is going on every day, all over the county. It must be stopped, because it has given me trauma which I have never been able to get rid of."

For more information on mental health support, visit www.carrickmind.org.uk or the Cornwall Council site www.cornwall.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/mental-health/