Information centre: Worthing Mental Health Awareness Week launches with lighting of a peace candle

Worthing Mental Health Awareness Week has launched with the lighting of a peace candle as the annual one-stop information centre returns to its usual base.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 9:33 am

This year’s programme, which began yesterday and runs until October 9, offers a selection of talks and meet-ups, as well as a wealth of information at the drop-in centre.

Co-founders Carol Barber and Bob Smytherman were pleased to see the 9th annual event taking place at Offington Park Methodist Church, South Farm Road, Worthing, once again. They joined Worthing mayor Lionel Harman and mayor’s chaplain Father George Butterworth for the lighting the peace candle.

The aim of the week is to challenge the stigma around mental health and provide good-quality information in a safe and non-judgemental environment. The full programme can be found at www.worthingmentalhealthweek.co.uk

Worthing Mental Health Awareness Week launches with the lighting of a peace candle by the mayor's chaplain, Father George Butterworth. Picture: Steve Robards SR2110041

Bob said: “Following last year’s event held online using Zoom and Facebook live stream, we are delighted to be back in the church for our 9th Worthing Mental Health Awareness Week, although where appropriate we will continue to provide the opportunity for people to join online, as the feedback was so positive last year.”

Local charities, organisations and groups will have displays in the Information Centre all week and there will be a variety of free workshops and talks, designed to promote mental health and wellbeing.

Carol said: “We are immensely grateful to the Offington Park Methodist Church community for welcoming us into the building once again this year.

“This event could not happen without the support of our local charities and businesses and we are always surprised at the generosity in terms of time and sponsorship.”

Tanya Marwaha from Championing Youth Minds gave this year’s key note presentation on Monday. She explained how this Worthing based, youth-led, non-profit organisation supports young people through peer mentoring and detailed its free online resources for schools, parents and young people.

On Monday evening, there was a special meeting of Rethink Worthing Mental Health Carers Group, run by Mark Hughes with guest speaker Martin Richards from Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Today, 10am to 12pm, Men In Sheds (Lancing & Sompting) will talk about the value of friendship groups and the sense of wellbeing derived from collaborative projects which benefit the wider community.

The afternoon will focus on keeping well in later life. There will be a pop-up Dementia Café at 2.30pm, followed by an open meeting of Dementia Action Alliance at 4pm. Representatives from CYCALL will be guest speakers, explaining how adapted bicycles enable everyone to take part in cycling.

Wednesday will be focused towards the provision of services and opportunities for those who experience mental health challenges. Representatives from Pathfinder, Mind and Capital will explain how services and support can be accessed.

There will a workshop on maintaining emotional resilience at 11am and a gentle craft activity at 1.30pm, offering an opportunity for mindful relaxation and companionship.

On Thursday, you can hear about the work of some of Worthing’s charities. The Treasure Basket will give a presentation about its play therapy via Zoom at 9.30am, Worthing Samaritans will give a presentation at 11am and Andy’s Angels will talk about grief play and its support for children at 12.30pm. Chattie Café will have a drop-in friendship and discussion group from 3.30pm to 5pm.

The work of Worthing Food Foundation will be the focus on Friday, with a talk at 10.15am about the link between food insecurity and mental wellbeing.

Turning Tides will also give a short presentation at 9.45am and the charity’s Hidden and Hunted photograph exhibition will be displayed in the church all week.

The Information Centre will be open all week and wil begin to close on Friday at 4pm. There will then be a coffee morning on the Saturday at 10am.

The week concludes with a special Glamour Club Vintage Hollywood themed tea, in the adjacent hall. Tickets are £10 plus a £2 booking fee, via www.theglamourclub.co.uk/buy-a-ticket