THE second annual Worthing Mental Health Awareness Week began on Monday.
Organiser Carol Barber said the aim of the week was to promote mental wellness, to provide good quality information about mental health issues, and to help reduce the stigma and discrimination often endured by those who are suffering.
Worthing’s town crier Bob Smytherman officially declared the week long event open at a ceremony inside Offington Park Methodist Church, in South Farm Road, Worthing.
He was joined by charity and community groups, councillors and healthcare officials to name but a few.
Worthing’s deputy mayor Michael Donin said: “It’s important to raise everybody’s awareness about treatment and recovery of mental illness because there’s still a stigma around it.”
Councillor Val Turner, cabinet member of health and well-being, said: “A week like this is extremely important to everybody and we just need to keep raising that awareness so that everybody can do their bit to help others.
“We are working with our own staff in helping them recognise people who are having problems and teaching them how to deal with these people.”
Twenty-six charities, speakers and organisations are participating this week, with the final day on Saturday.
Speaking at the opening ceremony on Monday, she said: “We didn’t imagine last year we would have such huge support. Anybody can say ‘hang on a minute, things aren’t quite right’. I think somebody has to try and do something.”
More than 40 charities and organisations have given their support to Carol’s mental health initiative since it began.
Colm Donaghy, chief executive of the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said he was delighted to attend the opening. “I want to say congratulations to the community because dealing with mental health awareness is complex. It only works if our local communities buy into it.”
For more information on this year’s schedule, visit www.worthingmental healthawarenessweek.org.uk