From the 7th to the 13th of October, twenty organisations in locations across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are hosting events to mark World Mental Health Day.
This year, to mark the theme of mental health being a universal human right, the call is for people to have conversations with school friends, family and friends, and colleagues on the day and ask them how they are feeling with the ‘RU OK’ campaign?
The events are being spearheaded by our voluntary sector organisations who are working to deliver mental health support to their local communities, teaming up with partners from the NHS and local councils.
Tracey Pollard, from the Rural Community Council, is one of the voluntary sector partners taking part. She said: “The Rural Community Council has recently started to run one of the NHS’ Neighbourhood Mental Health Cafes in Syston. World Mental Health Day is an opportunity for us to get out and talk to local people about mental health – and to promote the new Café that we are running. We are going to be in Asda in Thurmaston on the day to talk to people as they do their shopping, we’ll be handing out information leaflets for the new Syston café, as well as offering advice and support on other local services & organisations available in the area.”
Healthwatch Leicester and Healthwatch Leicestershire (HWLL), the local health and social care champion for the public are taking to public transport to spread the message to commuters on the 10 October at the Loughborough, Leicester and Market Harborough railway stations. Gemma Barrow, Healthwatch Manager, said: “We’re delighted to be taking part on the day with our team of volunteers. We’ll be starting at Loughborough in the morning before hopping onto the train to get to Leicester and Market Harborough in the afternoon. It’s important for us to be talking to people about mental health, to raise awareness of the support that is out there and to listen to any feedback.”
World Mental Health Day also includes two mobile buses, one from Blaby District Council and one from NHS Talking Therapies, two full day conferences from Peepul Mental Health and from the Adhar Project, plus a host of activities across the city and county that include cookery classes, a skipping competition, a sing loud be proud session and arts and crafts events.
Tanya Hibbert, Director of Mental Health at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, said: “World Mental Health Day is a fantastic opportunity to highlight some of the great work that we and our partners are doing together across all parts of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. We would like to encourage everyone to get involved in any of the many events running on the day. Even if you can’t get to an event, we would urge people to take part by making the time to ask their employees, colleagues, friends and members of their family ‘RU OK?’ and to encourage open conversations.”
Rachna Vyas, Chief Operating Officer at the Integrated Care Board, added: “The local NHS winter campaign this year is once again encouraging people to ‘Get in The Know’ about the local health and community support that’s out there for them and this covers both mental and physical health. It is fantastic that so many of the Neighbourhood Mental Health Cafes that we have recently opened are taking part in the day as these are a new place for people to drop in and get support when they feel in crisis.”