Mental Health Awareness Week runs from May 8th May until May 15th and includes a host of events to highlight the issues faced by countless people in the UK. It is only by highlighting mental health issues, and encouraging people to speak freely about them, that we can begin to effect real change.
South East and Central Essex Mind has been involved in numerous events in the build up to the week itself and will continue to do so until the 15th, this includes a host of celebrity speakers appearing on channel 4, amongst them Ruby Wax and Mind President, Stephen Fry. Speaking on the importance of Mental Health Awareness Week, South East and Central Essex Mind Chief Officer, Ken Sanderson had this to say:
“Mental Health Awareness Week serves the purpose of letting people across Britain know that they are not alone, that mental health issues affect everyone, from the people who are living with them to their family and friends. On a local level it serves to let people know that there are resources available to them and how they can go about seeking the support they need.”
South East and Central Essex Mind has worked hard to raise awareness in the region. We collaborated with dementia charity, Peaceful Place Peaceful Place for our ‘Cook and a Chat’ challenge that encouraged people to host their own fundraising dinner party where people could talk openly about mental health.
We promoted the event alongside Peaceful Place with a stall on Southend’s Thursday market (Thank you to Southend Association of Voluntary Services for the loan of their market place and gazebo). We also hosted another shared stall in both Sainsburys and Waitrose Southend, interacting with a huge demographic and answering their questions about the processes in place to help the local community.
Our next stall will be hosted by the Chelmsford Dove Project on Saturday 13th May in Chelmer Shopping Centre and will highlight the open door support services offered by the Dove Project team. Each of these events serves to begin a dialogue with and provide a potential lifeline to anyone who may be unsure of where to turn in dealing with mental health issues.