Mental health 'champions' from across West Sussex held a variety of events to mark World Mental Health Day (October 10), ranging from walking and sketching to dancing with pom poms.
The activities were all put on thanks to Time to Change West Sussex's Champions Fund which gives people with a lived experience of a mental health issue the chance to apply for a grant to organise an event. All the activities gave people the opportunity to talk about mental health which is key to promoting mutual understanding and respect. Time to Change is a movement which aims to end stigma around mental health and help people feel they can be open and discuss it.
Vanessa said: "I had suffered with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and later depression and anxiety and had become anxious to the point where I drove to a work appointment but felt completely unable to get out of the car to speak to anyone.
"It made me realise my job and the pressure I was under was not good for me and that I needed to get help and to look after myself. Sketching has always made me feel better and, with the encouragment of a friend, I did a Masters in Fine Art.
"Mental health can be a scary subject to many people and I'm hoping that we will be able to approach it in a natural and gentle way."
A host of exciting events took place across the county as part of the Time to Change West Sussex campaign to challenge stigma around mental health. There were pebble painting parties, an art exhibition, a new 'Rural Minds Matter' bus launch, free cream teas, a week-long interactive arts event and lots more.
Many of the events were thanks to Time to Change 'Champions' - people with lived experience of mental health issues - who successfully applied for grants to host the activities. The popular pebble painting was part of the West Sussex Rocks anti-stigma campaign in which messages on stones are used to spread awareness about mental health.
A mental health anti-stigma roadshow bus 'Rural Minds Matter' was launched at a big free event at the Grange Leisure Centre. There was yoga, singing sessions, face painting, a pebble painting party and free cream teas.
Many people in Worthing took part in an exciting week-long creative event in the town centre. A further 50 people enjoyed a separate art exhibition in Durrington. Students from Northbrook Met College teamed up with Mental Health Champions to put on a week-long interactive art installation at Colonnade House., There was also a pebble painting party at the end of the week.
One design student said: “Some people tell you to just stop being anxious but if you feel scared and anxious every day, it is important for people to understand what it is like.
“It was never really talked about at my school. I didn’t receive any mental health support, I was just the quiet one I think young people should get help earlier. When I went to college I said I felt anxious and I met someone who talked through what was on offer.”
Another student described how important having open conversations was to feel less isolated. “It is nice to know no-one is alone and there are people feeling the same as me.”
Meanwhile, an exhibition ‘tHINK tALK cREATE’ took place at Coastal West Sussex Mind, at The Gateway, Durrington Lane. Funded by a Time to Change Champions Grant, it was run and organised by people being supported by CWSx Mind.
The organisers (Denise Willsun, Carol Ayling and Cathy Parton) collated over 50 pieces of artwork, including paintings, drawings, colourings, mosaics, clay work and 5D beadings, that were created during the twice weekly art group, by people being supported by CWSx Mind. The exhibition led to lots of conversations about mental health with members of the public.
Also in Worthing: pupils at Bohunt School 'gunged' assistant head teacher Paul Young as a fundraising stunt during Mental Health Awareness Week. Through the gunging and the cake sale they raised £168 in aid of Coastal West Sussex Mind.
Lots of conversations about mental health took place at two events in Littlehampton during the week. There was a free pebble painting party and an art exhibition.
Meanwhile, there was more pebble painting going on at Chichester Library which again gave people the chance to discuss mental health.
Time to Change Champion Kasha was one of a team of five people with lived experience of a mental health issues handing out free flowers in Crawley Town Square as a conversation starter about mental health and stigma.
We launched our pebble painting and anti-stigma campaign.
World Mental Health Day, October 10th 2017
We had several events happening around World Mental Health Day in addition to the exciting launch of our Time to Change West Sussex Champions Fund.
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